Nanowrimo, Writing and stuff.

Hello adventurers!

I see some of y’all are about that Nanowrimo life and I say, Go FORTH AND DO ALL THE THINGS! WRITE THAT SHIT!

My personally philosophy about Nanowrimo is that you can use it however you need it. The first few times I did it, around 2011 I mostly needed to figure out how could write something longer than say 3k words. I knew I could write but that much? Yes I could. I found that while my little novellas were the hottest of shitty messes, I learned a lot about myself as a writer.

Also, having that sort of small (for me, i was VERY shy even on the internet back then. I KNOW WEIRD RIGHT) community of people who liked to cheer me on and encourage me to just write that shit was invaluable to me. I learned what it was like to have someone say yes, YES YOU DO THAT SHIT who wasn’t already a friend.

The other things I found doing Nanowrimo is that while no, I was not one of those fabled folks to get book deals and shit. I did start finding out how could/do write fantasy. How I want to present certain things. The Daiyuverse was born during Nanowrimo. I wasn’t cutting teeth the way I was cutting teeth in literary fiction at the time.

I was devouring words and methodology and while I was devouring I was playing. I was doing like this here:

That was how my nerdy little soul was getting down. Wild. At the time, I felt that the only way to be a “real author” was through very specific channels. I believed in the idea that if I ground it out in short fiction, someone who expressed interest in my work who was also in a position of power would publish it and BOOM REAL GROWED UP WRITER.

For me, this view was part of my angst over not having much of a formal education. I was trapped in this shame bubble and it was hobbling me creatively. I had such grand dreams of not only being a literary mega super star AND a horror queen AND a memorist AND  AND AND.

What clicked for me in my nano adventures was this.

All I have to do is write. I am a writer. And that’s fine. Not only fine, it is fucking amazing.

I heavily credit doing nanowrimo for years with setting me free in a way I was not able to find elsewhere.

I know a lot of people poop on the idea of just churning out words. It is kind of counter intuitive.

That said, if you really want to just run with something, nanowrimo is a great chance. I believe fully in the art of Writing Like A Mother Fucker and if you don’t know how, now is a great time.

Now this year I’m not doing nano proper. I’m actually making it my goal to have rewrites on Cycle 1 of the Daiyuverse done and in December have the ebook available for purchase. That is my goal for the month alongside getting out this chunk of cycle 2 to my patrons.

Also on a personal note. So, I’ve been/am being doxxed. I don’t have much to say about it aside from it has really bummed me out. Naturally that’s putting it lightly but I mean, it’s not the first time. Probably won’t be the last. So I’m dealing with it.

I dunno.

On one hand it makes me hesitant to really get some of my side hustles started but also eager to do them.

That said.

Ahem.

Here is what we’re looking at. Some original Be That Shit University Writing 101. The class I’m designing can be applied to any type of writing and focuses on doing that shit. I have some methodologies both digital and analog, some poking and stuff.

My market isn’t really people who already know how to write. Y’all I will get to. I’m looking at helping folks see and let loose their writing. This can be for fun, as an addition to an in place creative practice. Maybe you just wanna find out. The prices will be accessible and I might be open to offering select discounts.

I got you boo.

No bullshit. No intense literaryness.

Just you and me, talking like this. Available at your liesure via  a downloaded kit. You’ll get a couple of flash pieces, some poems and I’ll even include an unedited free write along with suggestions of how to write like a mother fucker, some timed exercises.

Consider this, if you like an intro to writing some shit. No pressure. No promises. Just no bullshit information.

I’m still getting my materials together, but I decided fuck it. I can’t do video right now, I still really enjoy teaching and talking about writing. I have wanted to do this forever. Boom here we are.

And the only real reason I have the um thangs to do this is because I know so many wonderful talented humans. Like best selling writers, writers who’ve never published a thing, artists, poets, SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE.

And the women and femmes in my life.

I know women and femmes in my life who hustle so hard and so beautifully it just, y’all it makes me want to sit down and cry for joy. My community is pretty fucking great.

SO my darlings.

To keep up on when I release my classes and to get artsy fartsy opinions and musings come sign up for my newsletter. 

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On Nanowrimo.

Prior to yesterday at work I had no intention of actually doing Nanowrimo this year.

I had no ideas, no plan, nothing.

And then after a few awful false starts a thing started to happen.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but a while back I started my first attempt at an epic fantasy type thing and wrote very little. I don’t think that is my jam.

And now this.

I’m writing what I’m going to say is urban fantasy fiction about people of color. It takes place in Seattle and thus far I am not including Whiteness beyond the stuff people of color talk about all the time.

At least not as the main draw or the main magical tradition.

What feels the best right now even though my actual plan is still not a plan, is that my main magical POC is a Magical Black girl.

Do you have any idea how much that means to me?

She is foul mouthed, overly sensitive, has a particular weakness for threesomes with fae folk of varying sorts and gives not one fuck. Not. One.

There is also a Brazilian battle witch, made to fuck shit up, and she gives not one fuck about that. She is coming from a place where she has had to fight tooth and nail to not only hold on to her identity as a witch under the thumb of a rogue Catholic sect but her identity as a Black person who is both sexualized and desexualized because she is dark and clearly Black. She does not give a fuck she is not here for that.

This is on the heels of yet another awful racist twitter hashtag fuckarow. I don’t want to rehash it but honestly it hurts my fucking soul. The daily proof that Black people, Black women especially can’t have fucking anything ever just breaks my heart. I’m so full of that heartbreak doing Nanowrimo this year is serving me a bigger purpose. it is therapeutic. In this world I am creating, I don’t have to fucking deal with people who think it’s funny to essentially wish me out of existence because I am a Black woman.

Honestly in the last month I have seen more aggressive racism and the sort where Nice White People just don’t realize how racist they are being than I have in a while and it is taking a toll.

As I said in this essay (which yes I know I should take down and redo but I don’t want to) and this one there is no safe quarter for me anywhere. There is literally nowhere on the internet where I am safe from racism. There isn’t anywhere I am safe from sizeism. No LOLS, no nothing.

The other day I spent 45 minutes taking racist comments off of a video I made about how to oil treat your hair.

As an antidote to this I”m doing the ONE thing I know how to do and that works. I’m making my own world. And you know what at the end it might suc but I will probably make it available for sale anyway because this world needs more magical POC. It needs more safe places for us.

I’m also wearing the most glorious purple wig and am a glamorous mother fucker because if I can’t find safety I can at least wear fucking armor.

Here’s a gratuitous photo:

pixiegirl

 

I have decided that until I see fit to stop I’m going to look the way I want to as long as I feel like it.

I’m ready for war at this point.

If I hit 9K by Weds I’ll post a good chunk of the thing.

So that’s all.

Diversity and how zines do it wrong.

I am doing a lot of market research right now.  Getting ready to do some hardcore submitting in Dec.

I rely heavily on Duotrope and I’ve found that sometimes the editor interviews can totally ruin a zine I may have liked.

Mainly my problem is when I see the idea of diversity in tastes in a zine and every one of their favorite listed writers are either Dead White Guys, Living White Guys with maybe some Bronte sisters thrown in, I just shake my head a little bit.

Honestly dear literary magazines.

If your favorites list reads like an omnibus for a class in “classic” literature, you are not doing diversity right.

If your favorites list reads like the current who’s who of White Man problems lit, you are not doing it right.

This is one of those days where as I’m doing my diligent research, I feel like okay. OKAY so if all your favorite voices are White men, telling mens stories, and you love a diversity of voices, why is it when I go to read through your archives I find a lot of white dudes.

If the stories that move you are the stories of men pretty much just like you or the vision of your best self, or worst self; where do other people fit in?

Of course I’m not saying everyone has their taste. I personally don’t care for a specific type of lady writing that involves a lot of self loathing. That’s not my jam. However, if I was running a magazine and talked a good game about how wonderfully diverse the voices in my zine were and really mostly only published that one narrative, that one type of voice, I’d be a lying ass liar.

Or if I want to not be such a pessimist about it, I’d say I would be sorely and terribly mistaken.

I would be super excited if more editors would excise the word diversity from their vocabulary until they understand that it’s not simply a word that it is also an action. That this action is also a representation of what they say they are into.

This is a conversation I’ve had before. Once upon a time I (very timidly, I was a baby) brought it up in a yahoo writing group I was in. As these things go, there were some irate White editors who gave many reasons why I was wrong.

Here’s the thing White folks.

This takes some self reflection. It takes some hubris.

If the scope of your literary tastes go no farther than the easily findable market saturated White authors that’s fine. What’s not fine is not acknowledging that or at least not talking about your diverse tastes because they just aren’t.

Don’t shit in my purse and tell me it’s your organic way of showing love.

This is also a point in the conversation where I’ve had people tell me it’s just SO HARD TO FIND AUTHORS OF COLOR TO SUBMIT.

Actually it’s not.

It takes not bullshitting us about what you publish. It takes, taking a hard objective look at what you publish and maybe saying to yourself, “wow this is a real White magazine, I should fix that.”

Maybe you need to solicit work. Maybe you need to ask someone if they read your zine, if they would be comfortable submitting.

It takes widening what you read and perhaps redefining what’s “good”. Good doesn’t necessarily have to mean that it resonates with you personally. I am a Black person who has been an avid reader for 30 years, how many books do you think I’ve read that I will never ever identify with?

Until you have actual diversity in more than subject matter, don’t talk about it.

Just skip that and people like me will probably not be salty about it.

Today I’m a little frustrated.

I’ll sit in it for a minute and get back to work.

In the meantime, in case you’ve forgotten just how easy it can be to find all of us people of color who write, I give you again this amazing post put together by Roxane over at The Rumpus.

As the title says, We Are Many. We Are Everywhere.

Lesson of the year.

I’ve mentioned it before, I really love doing Nanowrimo.

Over the years I’ve used November/Nanowrimo as reason to do whatever thing has taken my fancy.

What I haven’t intended is to learn so much about myself and my process as an author.

The first major lesson I learned was of course discipline. The first year I tried Nanowrimo, I was not yet to the point where I could really sit down and work. I was still under the impression that I needed to be “touched” by the Muse in order to produce.

I had to learn the ass in chair part of writing. Not just writing when I felt like it, or when i had a wild purple feather up my butt. I had to learn to really sit down and work.

This year has been different.

Rather than throwing every thing I have ever thought of into this novella I’ve been focused in my scope. I had a plan, I had the thing I wanted to accomplish.

I still haven’t cracked the code of using a detailed outline or any of the novel writing software I have at home.

And yet, I figured out how to turn off my adventure brain and focus.

I still made some strange decisions on the way but, I think when I sit down to write an actual novel I can use a lot of this experience in it.

I also am very surprised at my output. In general I did not write on weekends. When I did write on schedule I generally did between 1700-2000 words that were not in my opinion shit.

What else?

I started out trying really hard to be genre horror. I think I did not do that. This is more lit with some horror flavor? A little magical realism flavor? Slip stream?

Shit.

I am also learning as the years of writing go by that I cannot force my brain into the framework of genre.

I try really hard. What ends up happening is that I write what I want to and often come out with stories that touch all over genre but never settle there. Sometimes that is a problem sometimes not.  This is problematic on many levels as some of my rejections will show.

Speaking of rejections I’ve gotten four for the month. I have 11 out now and four I expect to be rejected if not never acknowledged. I was tempted to pull two of them but I’ll let them languish.

I think that is all for right now. I want to get in more words today. I hope to cross the Nanowrimo finish line around 2 AM.

OH Wait damn.

Self promotion I am so bad at this.

A few things.

I have a piece in the print anthology from Children Churches and Daddies. Check that out here. And I have a piece in this months Scissors and Spackle. I’m told it’s a tear jerker so don’t be mad if you cry. I warned you.

I also really -really- need to update my website. I will get that done before the end of the week.

Thank you for being lovely all five no wait 9 of you who read this.

Now I am off to write a blood ritual with some heavy influence from Egypt and early Sekhmet worship.

Writing the outside.

These are things I think about often but today’s thoughts are brought to you courtesy of Remittance Girl’s most recent post on rape fantasies.

This bit from the end of her entry struck me:

So, although the fantasy or the fiction may contain elements of non-consent, the fantasizer and/or the reader are fully in control and consent to either imagine or to read. This has nothing to do, ultimately, with non-consent. It is all about the permission to imagine.

I’m not talking about rape right now but the Awful in the things I write sometimes.  Often in the past few years I have explore more emotionally and psychologically dark place. As RG pointed out a lot of erotica authors write what turns them on.

I am the kind of writer who writes what turns me on in the larger sense. In my head whether I’m writing erotica, horror, whatever it needs to turn me on in that I need to get that feeling, either the sexual excitement or my pulse needs to change. Something has to happen or I am not going to keep doing it.

One of the frequent criticisms I have gotten over the years is that I tend to like going bad places. If you read a lot of my writing aggression in various forms is a common theme and emotion I like to work with. I like digging into varying ways aggression happens and feels.

That coming from a female writer seems to make some people very uncomfortable. More so when the protagonist is also a woman and isn’t battered or otherwise clearly “damaged” as the Lifetime movie trope goes.

My story Bloody Knuckles as it was published in The Flash Fiction offensive was one that was rejected about seven times before it was picked up. One editor sent me a very kind rejection saying he was unsure about publishing a story that hit so many sore point. I had a bit of back and forth with editor and asked what part was the roughest for him.

I have also gotten the same rejection for erotic stories. When I write kink it usually isn’t whips and chains. Often it’s eroticized aggression because I am fascinated and turned on by that.

…I’m not sure what my point is.

I should back up.

Basically what I am getting at here is that the subversive, the dark, the things that make people cringe in literature whatever kind it may be, are not the things to be afraid of.

Fiction even when people are writing clearly autobiographical fiction, is fiction. You don’t have to like, get turned on by OR as RG astutely points out read it ever.

One of the joys of reading is that when you disapprove or don’t like something you don’t have to keep reading it. School assignments not withstanding.

If you want to write about Nazi’s butt fucking their way across the Plains for Christ do the damn thing.

Publishers, need not be so afraid of the taboos. I realize how difficult that is for many but not everything needs to be wrapped up in pretty packages to sell or even be good.

To writers I say don’t be afraid it won’t get published by whatever publishing house. Don’t be scared.  You may have to search and search to find someone to publish your work or you might put it out yourself. Never let people shame you for your subject matter

I think I’m done. I’m very tired and I hit 10,000 words on my novella. I reread as I was heading home and god damn it I like this story. I like it because it’s one I haven’t read before. I am pretty certain I’ll finish.

Under the read more tag a tidbit-

Continue reading “Writing the outside.”

Nanowrimo, acceptances and things.

So I mentioned that I’m doing Nanowrimo this year.  I’ve done it other years and finished a few times. Unfortunately I don’t have any of those manuscripts, done or not anymore. They perished with my hard drive a few years ago.

I really love nanowrimo. Every time I’ve tried and failed I learned some valuable things about me as a writer.

For instance. Last year I learned that I can’t try to write alternate history based horror that starts in the early epochs of Egyptian history. I am sure if I gave myself a lot of time and had someone to guide me I could write that book really well. However, all by myself without adult supervision I get lost in the research and the tweaking of certain mythological and historical details.

This year I’m trying out some epistolary elements for the first time.

I’m also trying to infuse my own intersectional sensibilities about things like race, identity and growing up poor. I’m putting these things into a horror story.

I’m doing what the best writing advice ever told me to. I’m writing a story I’d like to read.

So far I’m very very excited. I like where I’m going and how I’m getting there. I think with some editing and time later on it may turn into something I wait what…shop around.

Crazy I know.

I also heard this morning that I got accepted into the next issue of Scissors and Spackle. A while back I spotted the name on Duotrope and started poking around there and I really like what they published. Even better they took a story that other editors have liked but not loved enough to publish so yay.

So yay.

Under the read more bit, a taste of my nanowrimo novella in progress. In this portion my protagonist Lizzy is remembering visiting NOLA as a child while she is getting some ritual scarification done.

Continue reading “Nanowrimo, acceptances and things.”