My Type o’ Writer

It’s that time of year, again! By which I mean, the one where I have been diligently producing blog content for almost a year and am very tired and wistfully looking at the idea of taking a hiatus. So I’m thinking Ever On Word will go quiet for the month of December. But that leaves today, the last Friday of November. What to blog about??

Fortunately, when Present Me is feeling uninspired, she can often turn to ideas that Past Me jotted down somewhere but never used – such as this list of ‘writer stereotypes’ by Paper Fury. How do I stack up against them? Let us discuss.

  1. Writers stay up late and work best in darkness

This actually used to be true of me. During the height of my creative frenzy (circa 2010 – 2015ish), I legitimately did most of my living in the middle of the night. (See “Open Journal: Creature of the Night.”) But anymore, I have a day job that dictates I be up-and-at-‘em with the winter sun, so bedtime’s 9pm, closer to 10 if I’m being naughty. If I wanna make words, it needs to happen in daylight.

  1. Writers drink a lot of coffee + go to coffee shops to write

Make that “writers drink entirely too much tea”, and I will, first of all, demand how you dare suggest there is such a thing as “too much tea” – (apologize or we duel) – and second of all agree that, yes, I am all about that tea life. And I do quite enjoy tea shops, but not as places to write. Noisy public spaces impede my creative process. My gal Tirzah, however, is a fiend for writing in coffee shops, and I have been known to tag along and occupy myself in other artistic pursuits (*cough* mostly selfies *cough*).

Tea and Coffee Shops
Taking time for tea and/or coffee and/or amateur photography.
  1. The writer uniform is: Pajamas

My pajamas are for bedtime and nothing else. If I want to be able to function outside of bed, I need daytime clothes. …Which can be every bit as slouchy and soft and unsuitable for errand-running as pajamas, but go by a different name in my brains, and Names Have Power. Ask a fairy tale.

  1. Writers are always crying over having to write

If I’m crying creator tears, it’s because I had a total blast making my story / song / blog post / whatever, and eagerly shared the artwork with the world … and the world did not appear to notice.

  1. Writers are partially made of crumbs or are six dragons in a trench coat

My trench coat conceals a kraken.

Fresno_IMG_20181115_073344341_2

  1. Writers are obsessed with stationary

I mean, I did design my own journal… And do have more journals than I expect I will ever actually fill… And spend a lot of time ogling fancy journals while shopping… And am essentially Annabelle Iole Gray from the “Inspired” novels

“Is she a writer?” Yves asked in a near-whisper.

“There’s hope for it,” said Luc. “She cradles two new journals in the crook of her arm, and is considering a third. If they are for her, we can assume her plans to fill them.”

– from “Inspired”

Hello, New Journal 01
From “Lightbulb Moments: An INSPIRED Journal”

Do you like your name, New Journal? It’s Irish, and means ‘fair’. I didn’t think you’d mind being given an Irish name, even if you are, according to a certain tattoo of yours, Taiwanese. What if your Irish parents served as missionaries in Taiwan, and you happened to be born and spent your formative years there before going out to seek your fortune on a book retailer’s shelf here in Missouri, U. S. of A.? Or what if you got the tat because you identify as Asian in your secret heart of hearts, never mind your being genetically second-generation Irish-American? No, make that third-generation. Your grandparents came over on the Titanic – well, partway on the Titanic; emergency switch in transport, mid-Atlantic, history will recall – and I guess their owners must have been wealthy enough to get first crack at the lifeboats, so…

“For heaven’s sake,” Luc said, his voice an almost Abishan-like growl. “Is she planning to write her first novel on the family history of a notebook?”

– from “Inspired”

So… yeah.

  1. Writers hate editing

I hate being told to edit. But I very much enjoy fiddling with what I’ve written, every time I reread it. It’s one of the increasingly few activities I can lose myself and relax in.

  1. Writers will correct your grammar

I very much will. And spelling. And usage. And unnecessary repetition. And punctuation. But mostly in my own head, not out loud, so you won’t even know how much you want to smack me.

  1. Writers want to drink readers’ tears

If I wept writing it, I want you ugly sobbing with me. Fair’s only fair.

  1. Writers hiss at people and live alone in a cottage in the deepest moors

…Close enough.

Meanwhile, in the comments section: Are you Team Tea or Team Coffee? What, instead of or in addition to journals, tops your “I don’t need it, but I nee-ee-eed it” list? Dare I ask who you are beneath the trench coat?

Chat with me in the comments, and I’ll see you all in January!

Tag, You’re First! (Or Something Like That)

Once upon sometime in June I suppose, I discovered (here) a set of questions calling themselves “The First Tag”. The theme? Writerly firsts. The appeal for me? Obvious.

So what are we waiting for? First things first…

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Who was the first character you ever wrote?

My first actually named, wholly original, given-a-full-story character I can recall was Jesse Cassidy – a middle-school-aged tomboy who liked to bake and hated her classmates but ended up spending most of her time with them anyway. Over a number of years, I wrote her a whole series of chapter books, starting with…

What was the first story you ever finished?

… “How the Nutcracker Suite Went Sour”. In short summary: Jesse finds herself enrolled in a summer ballet class against her will, and is subjected to the disaster that is her (and her hated classmates’) amateur performance of “The Nutcracker”. In retrospect, it was not a great work of literature. But the fun of writing it ensured I would keep making words until I learned how to do it better.

Old School Oscar, Michael, and Jason
Super old sketch of the three boys Jesse would deign to call her friends.

What was the first piece of writing advice you ever heard? Or what was the first bit of advice you used and it actually worked?

Advice? I don’t know. I’ve spent so much time ignoring the voices around me in favor of the voices in my head, that I can’t recall an answer for this one.

Who was your first villain?

Santa Claus’s murderer.

(Would love to go into greater detail about him, but I’m actually planning to make a draft of his story presentable for publication someday, so we’ll all just have to be varying levels of patient!)

Dark Elf Waits
My first (badly shopped, lol) portrait of my OG villain.

What was the first storyworld you ever built?

My first deliberately fantastical world (not, y’know, what was supposed to be a regular world, but that turned out to have a murdered Santa Claus) was called Ohlhallaveil – or, translated from the High Language to English, the Dream World / World of the Dream. I’m not sure yet how to move forward with the first version of the Dream World I wrote, but different forms of it can be found elsewhere in Deshipley canon. ‘Tis a flexible world, like that. And a persistent one.

World of the Dream 2
Poster concept for Book 1 of my first crack at a fantasy series.

What did your first attempt at worldbuilding or mapmaking look like?

Pretty sure my first cartographic attempts were treasure maps that had nothing to do with writing. I was just a kid who liked using up paper on art projects of questionable worth – maps to nowhere, faux subpoenas, a ventriloquist dummy…

When was your first crush-on-your-own-character? I know it happened, don’t lie to me.

I can sometimes find it hard to discern the line between an actual crush and a non-crush fixation, but there was no denying how hard I fell for Edgwyn Wyle when I met him in “The Stone Kingdom”. Earlier than that, though, may have been a brilliant teacher by the name of Frank Llewellyn. Perhaps not coincidentally, he and Edgwyn had a number of traits in common – big build, warm and friendly nature, green eyes ever twinkling in amusement… I definitely had a type.

What was the first character death you ever had to write and how did you handle it?

Pretty sure that was Santa. My first crack at it lacked the emotional intensity of later drafts, but then, Teen Author Me tended to turn up her nose at killing off characters in the first place.

Don’t worry. She grew into a proper psychopath.

When did you first decide that your book needed a full-blown series?

For Jesse Cassidy’s books, I just didn’t want to stop writing them; I liked throwing her and the other kids into new situations, simply to see how they’d [mis]behave. It was different with, say, The Wilderhark Tales, where I didn’t need there to be more books until I’d happened to write two … and fell for Edgwyn. And with The Outlaws of Avalon, it was going to be just “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” (currently available for free, via the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale!) as a standalone, but then the darn characters kept growing in my head, to the point where they needed more on-paper stories to contain them. So you never know from whence the motivation will hail.

When was the first time you stepped out of your comfort zone to write a new genre?

Phenomenon 2
Cover/poster/whatever concept for my ACTUAL first fantasy novel.

I was going to cite Ohlhallaveil again, but I JUST REMEMBERED that it wasn’t my first foray into high fantasy. Before that, there was the world of “Phenomenon” – in which people were born semi-asexually out of a special pool of water, and if nobody claimed you as part of their family that was Bad News, and suddenly – Worse News! – monsters were coming out of the pool and making a menace of themselves, so our heroine – named Heroine – and her friends went off on a quest to figure out the problem’s source, the better to save the day… The book wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but with a bit of revision, I daresay it would be perfectly at home with much of the YA fantasy on shelves today.

Phenomenon, Journey Begins
Illustration of Heroine and friends setting out on their first adventure.

What was it like using a prompt for the first time?

I don’t recall, but I expect it was no more nor less challenging than writing without a prompt. It’s all just putting one word in front of the other.

Opening line: share your first, your favorite, and your most recent.

First, for all intents and purposes:

You know, on the whole, I really love my mom. Seriously. But sometimes, I really wish she were someone else’s mom. Like someone on Mercury, maybe. One particular instance comes to mind.

– “How the Nutcracker Suite Went Sour”, circa 2000

Villem Deere 10
My first completed portrait of Doctor Villem Deere.

Favorite – if I absolutely have to choose – by virtue of its simplicity and the pattern it set:

Doctor Villem Deere was not easily surprised.

– “The Swan Prince”, published 2013

Most recent:

The most tiresome thing about war, thought Calia, /born of Knossos, first king of Yassar/, was how it made a hostage of her in the name of preventing her capture.

– A short story (February 2018) I was gonna submit somewhere, but missed the deadline, so it’s chilling out in the drawer for now

What was your first ending like?

“How the Nutcracker Suite Went Sour” went out like it came in: With Jesse complaining.

What was the first ship you ever wrote and, be honest, did you make them a ship name?

Hmm… I think Jesse maybe had a crush called Blue Jay, at one point? If ship names were even a thing, way back then, I didn’t know about it. What would they have been, anyway? Blue Jesse? In any case, she went on to get together with her best friend instead, naturally. I guess that pair could have been McCassidy…

What year was your first NaNo[WriMo]?

The year of our Lord, 2010.

Allyn Ballad Cover.png
My first artwork in honor of the NaNo ‘10 novel that first took me to Avalon Faire

Which novel is memorable for being the first one you ever gave up on?

Oh mercy, I’ve given up on any number of novels – not to mention the novels I haven’t given up on per se, I just don’t know if/when I’ll ever pick up work on them again. But the most memorable surrender has to be the second of my two NaNo 2012 projects, “Singer of Skycastle”. I recycled some of it into “A Mind Prone to Wander” (as seen in “Steel & Bone: Nine Steampunk Adventures” and soon to be re-released in “Our Hungering Hearts”), but the full-length work I had in mind never made it off the ground. Which only goes to show that you can be a word boss like me and still have a tale get the better of you.

When did you first share your work with someone else and how did they react?

My sisters showed little appreciation for having my dozens of early-author-effort stories forced upon them. X)

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And that is that! Any author types reading this who want to play along? Tag! You’re next! Share your firsts in your own blog post, or down in the comments. ^o^