Monday, October 26, 2009

Tortured is a cursed book!!

It's like Macbeth, which a cursed play.

Anything that can go wrong while working on this book will!!!

First of all, it was hell to draft. Then when I was getting ready to submit my files to createspace, there was an enormous debacle with lost files which happened because of my computer turning off suddenly. GRR.

Then--I get the files to createspace and order a proof. The proof doesn't come. So I call createspace, and they're like, "Hmm... It seems like there's a problem on our side." They work on it, and I finally get a proof today. Which would be bad enough, considering the book is slated to be published November 2nd.


So, I get the proof and it looks really, really, really awful. I think I've got to pick a new cover image for the book. Which means I've got to change the cover image for kindle and my website. ARGH!!!!

It's days like this that self-publishing seems like the stupidest decision I ever made.

Right now I'm listening to the Beatles,and trying to calm down. I'm going to try to get as productive as I can between now and bedtime. I'll get what I can done, and I'll do my best to publish the book by 11/2. If worst comes to worse, the first episode will go live and the whole book won't be available for another week.

Sooo frustrated currently.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Wow. I really liked this book and then I hated it.

I should say that I went into it with very little in the way of what it was going to be about. So I was completely surprised when it turned out to be a book about a girl who was a cheerleader--but hated it, and began dating a guy who had dreadlocks and smoked pot as her escape. Their romance was sweet and engaging, and I was shocked. This book was edgy and out there and really, really amazing.

Then, out of the blue, her dreadlocked boyfriend starting hitting her.

Yeah. Really. Out of the blue.

I told myself yesterday as I was reading it that I was pissed off because a guy with dreadlocks was automatically abusive. How revoltingly stereotypical. And yes, cheerleading was the better option. Gah.

Then I told myself it was because she had it all wrong. Guys didn't actually start abusing girls out of the blue. It was a careful, selective process that began when they met you. They sized you up, figured out your weaknesses, probed them, and then began assaulting them in their attempt to control you. They were geniuses that way and I knew all about it. And it's true that Dessen has clearly never been in an abusive relationship. She simply doesn't get it. She maybe couldn't get it if it had never happened to her. And I have never been physically abused, so maybe I don't understand it either.

But I realized that it wasn't about either of those things. That wasn't the reason I hated the book. I hated the book because of a silly, structural, story-telling kind of thing. I hated it because the main character is rescued by an outside force. There was a deus ex machina in the form of her parents finding the guy hitting her. Afterwards, she was carted off to a recovery center. And then pages and pages of boring info later... The End.

No. Stories shouldn't work this way. The protagonist always has to save herself. If someone else saves her, it doesn't work.

(Which frankly makes me a bit nervous about Breathless, considering the end of that story could easily be considered a deus ex machina as well. Cringe.)

Someone might argue that a battered girlfriend can't save herself--that outside influence has to help. I would disagree. A battered girlfriend is the only one who can save herself.

An abusive guy twists your mind until you believe two things: 1) Whenever he hurts you, it is your fault. 2) You cannot survive without him.

See, he tells you you're flawed. He tells you that you need him to help correct those flaws. And once that stuff is ingrained in your head, you could be dragged away by wild horses and you'd still go back to him. No, something within you has to wake up, somehow. You have to somehow realize that what he's told you isn't true. And then you have to take yourself back, one piece at a time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just remembered this story I was kicking around in June

So I looked up my notes on it. Here's what I've got.

Rick didn't talk. Rick and Rose weren't friends. How were you supposed to be friends with someone who didn't talk?

Being burned alive
Having something happen that would hurt someone you love and having to watch
Impending loss of a limb

Dude. I have no idea what I was going for there...

But I think it does convey a bit of a mood if nothing else.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What do I do next?

Sigh. Well, Tortured is off being bound and printed, and hopefully a proof will arrive in my post office box Monday or Tuesday. Looks like I just have a few more ducks to herd into rows before The Jason and Azazel Trilogy officially needs very little of my time anymore besides popping a new chapter up on the screen every Monday and Thursday.

Which means it's time to figure out what to do next.

I've got an outline and the first ten pages of Poisonlands, my intended next project, a serial that's intended to function like a serial, with twelve episodes (published in biweekly in four 10-page chunks). The plan with Poisonlands is to post the first part of the episode and then allow people to "read it first" by paying .99 for the whole thing (about 40 pages-ish of text) via smashwords or kindle. Of course, it will be free for the reading for everyone who doesn't mind waiting.

This seems like a good plan. Only problem is that I've got about as much interest in writing Poisonlands as I have in writing lesson plans, which is to say, not much. I'm not sure why. I dig the idea, which is a kind of remix of Matheson's I Am Legend with some teen romance thrown in for fun and a dollop of Lost Boys atmosphere.

Truth is, I don't know if I still want to be writing young adult fiction. I like young adult fiction, but I'm not sure how many times I can write about some different character losing her virginity before I start parodying myself. On top of that, I was just starting to kind of get good at writing sex scenes, and I'd like to write one again at some point. One with actual of-age people who aren't having awkward, weird sex.

On the one hand, I know that my current audience is made up of a lot of teenagers. So I feel a little bad about suddenly dropping something else on them. I'm afraid of losing them. On the other hand, I'm afraid of writing young adult fiction forever because I'm afraid that I'll never get any adult readers. And, let's face it, teenagers grow out of the books they read when they were teenagers. And maybe the authors too...

The truth of the matter is, all that's bunk. Really, I wouldn't care what I was posting as long it was something that I was really enjoying writing. If I love it, then I believe in it, hands down. And I don't know what to write about. I want an idea that makes my fingers itch to be typing it. And I don't have one.

So the current plan is to serialize Mischief, starting in 2010. Hopefully, that will buy me enough time to figure out what to do next. Plus, it will get some more people to buy Mischief, and hopefully sell some copies. I think Mischief has sold like 5 copies all told.

Not that it really matters, because you can't write for other people, you have to write for yourself, but what do you want to read? If I could write something just for you, what would it be? You never know, maybe it'll spark something.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vampire Diaries Season 1 Episode 4

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say something pretty surprising. The Vampire Diaries is good. And I'm not just talking good-for-teen-vampire-show-on-the-CW good, but actually, really good.

This last episode had a lot of nice stuff going on in it. One thing that I think the show is doing right--and not getting credit for--is actually being creepy. There's a lot of talk lately about how much it sucks that vampires aren't scary anymore. I may address this topic later in another blog, when I can give it the attention it deserves, but for now I'll just say that's probably because everything a vampire represents (dangerous sexuality, basically) isn't exactly timely. We don't live in a sexually repressed society. Sex isn't as scary as it used to be. (I'm thinking about writing a book in the opposite direction, actually. An adult horror novel about monsters who steal sexual appetite. I think it might resonate with people. I know it's something that scares me.)

But back to the show. The episode starts off nicely, with a bit of humor. Williamson throws in several glib references to popular culture in a very Scream-like fashion. Damon is lying in bed reading one of the Twilight books and criticizing Edward for being whipped. If I know Williamson, this almost surely means that Damon will be "whipped" in the episodes to come. His characters always criticize fictional characters and then find themselves in similar situations. It's smart, and I don't care who thinks the show is dumb. That was a witty, smart moment.

We're still giggling, and the show immediately switches to an uncomfortable creep-factor moment. Damon pins Caroline to the bed and begins tenderly kissing her. In a little-girl voice, she asks, "Are you going to kill me?" Damon smiles. "Yes," he tells her sweetly. "But not yet." Caroline giggles.

Augh. Just tell me that doesn't give you the chills?

The episode moves at a nice pace plotwise, twisting the existence of each of the characters a little bit. We start to learn that Caroline has a mother who she's trying to shock, that the jerk-wad Tyler might have a little depth after all, considering his mom's a rich bitch, and we see Elena begin to notice that there's something really weird going on with both Stefan and Damon. Furthermore, Bonnie's witch powers are growing. In an unsettling scene, she accidentally lights all the candles in the room with her mind.

But maybe the best thing the show has going for it is the final scene reveal--there are a group of vampire hunters in town. And they know that something's up!

I'm also still really enjoying the fact that Stefan is weakened by the fact he doesn't drink human blood. I think it's a nice plot twist. It raises the stakes that much higher.

Honestly, this show is really good. I didn't think it would be. At all. But I like it. I actually really, really like it.