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!

Broken Chords, Broken People, Broken Hearts

Greeting, patrons of the blog. Allyn-a-Dale, here. Recently, you had … let’s call it the “pleasure” … of watching Will Scarlet and me perform a skit summarizing our author’s latest life changes, because Danielle doesn’t like to talk about herself. Today, I will be discussing a book she read, because Danielle doesn’t like to write book reviews.

Why when Danielle doesn’t like a task, that task half the time ends up falling to her characters, I’m sure I couldn’t tell you.

In any case, it’s fitting enough that I be the one to review this particular book – because while Danielle found it engaging, ‘twas I the book thoroughly wrecked. First, the summary from Goodreads:

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

“A Thousand Perfect Notes” by C.G. Drews

A Thousand Perfect Notes 1

This book resonated with me deeply. Although my own father / minstrel master was not prone to the brutal rages demonstrated time and again by Beck’s mother (better known, the Maestro), I could empathize all too well with Beck’s near crippling fear. Fear of the Maestro’s painful disappointment. Fear of his failure to personify the prodigy he’s told he must be. Fear that he and his beloved little sister Joey could starve to death or be otherwise damaged beyond repair and the world will never care enough to help them.

Not that he wants to be rescued – far from it. What he wants is to find the strength to stand up for them himself. To keep them safe from all the Maestro’s harms. To bring his inner music to life in peace. But when your abuser and your family are one and the same, fighting back is doubly difficult to do.

His slowly grown friendship with schoolmate August was a spot of sunshine, to be sure. Her unflagging patience with the walls he put up between them and kindness toward boisterous Joey provide a much-needed contrast to the harsh treatment received at home. And small wonder, given August’s passion for looking after forsaken animals. Never fear, however, that this is a tale of a romance conquering all woes. Both Beck and author C.G. Drews know better than to believe in so simple a solution.

To be blunt, Beck’s plight broke my heart. I cringed and mourned from the very first page, and was driven ere long to weeping aloud at the cruelties he suffered. The intersection of music and parental terror cut far too close to home. My compassion goes out to any child – real or fictional – forced to live out ugliness made in the name of beauty. As for the grief-maddened Maestro, I felt for her heartaches, truly I did, but in no wise does the breaking of one’s own dream excuse the breaking of another’s spirit. Sympathetic evil is still evil, and I hope that none who come across it in their own lives will extend it tolerance.

However, for all its agonies, one of the thousand notes the book struck was one of humor. For readers who enjoy a narrative with its share of banter and snark, be gladdened, for you’ll find it here. For those looking for an all-too-realistic Cinderella retelling set in Australia, you’ll find that, too. And for those hoping to pick up a few insults in German, I can direct you to the Maestro.

A Thousand Perfect Notes 2

Well played, C.G. Drews. Both my author and I congratulate you on your debut novel, wish you well in your pursuits to come, and shall continue following the entertaining rambles on your blog, paperfury.com.

Have you read / do you plan to read “A Thousand Perfect Notes”? What’s your favorite Cinderella story? Why the paucity of Australian books? (Is it because the kangaroos eat them?) Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below. Until next time, good folk – *minstrel bow* – I bid thee fare well.

Beautiful Books (and the Big Ideas Behind Them)

Somewhere, out in the blogosphere… specifically, on the blogs Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In… a meme is under way…

Beautiful Books Meme

Just like every year, we’re giving our monthly link up “Beautiful People” a small rest so we can focus on “Beautiful Books” [and] our NaNoWriMo projects. The format is the same as Beautiful People. We’ll post 10 questions to answer about your WiP — aka your beautiful book.  Answer the questions in a blog post of your own and then come back here to link up!

I enjoyed taking part in the Beautiful People meme, that one time in August, and I’ve enjoyed participating in National Novel Writing Month several times, though not this year. Fortunately, you don’t need a NaNo project to take part in Beautiful Books. Any story in progress will do. So I’m jumping in with my debut novel, scheduled to re-release in a brand new edition, March of next year – “Inspired”!

*

Cover w Text 06.3, front

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I’ve got brainstorming notes on the earliest iterations of “Inspired” going back to May 2011, and the first draft came out over the following December. The spark behind it all started around the NaNo before, when my (brand new, at the time!) best friend and I created the Stranger Than Truth club. Originally, the novel was going to feature not just one author navigating the fictional realm, but two, imagining in tandem. And there’s still room for that to happen, if I ever get around to a sequel centering on that. I just felt there was a lot of groundwork to lay down first.

Describe what your novel is about!

Happy days – I’ve got a blurb ready. ^o^

For a muse like Lucianíel, one story’s end is another’s beginning.

In the wake of his author’s sudden death, Luc takes ownership of her surviving creations—four fantastical characters with tales yet to be told—saving them from unwritten lives crumbling around them and giving them a second chance at a literary future.

Luc finds that chance in the unsuspecting mind of Annabelle Iole Gray, a quirky teen with her head in the clouds, nose in a book, and imagination ripe for a brilliant muse’s inspiration.

Or so he hopes.

Neither Luc nor Annabelle, however, realize all they’ve undertaken. Even with a to-write list including accounts of a shape-shifting cat creature, gentle knight-in-training, vigilante skater girl, and a mystery boy smothering in unspoken fear, the most remarkable saga created between author and muse just may turn out to be one stranger than fiction.

Their own.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Oh, the “Inspired” gallery on my website may have a few applicable images…

PhotoFunia-Luc and Jean

Inspired, Only the Beginning, 02

Inspired Avengers

Introduce us to each of your characters!

Whoof, there’s a lot, so let’s restrict it to three words each:

Lucianíel = That lightbulb moment

Abishan = Just… total cat

Wilbur = Chivalrous sweetie pie

Uri = Entirely judging you

Yves= Smol, with secrets

Annabelle = Danielle E. Shipley

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Step 1 = Talk to myself in a Word document until I’ve got a fairly solid idea of the book’s shape.

Step 2 = Outline chapter by chapter, to ensure every puzzle piece gets slotted in somewhere.

Sometimes, Step 3 (or 1-and-a-half, or at whatever point on the list I feel thus compelled) = Ask the characters questions so that I can begin to hear their voices in the answers.

Cover 2 w Text, front

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Since it’s already been written and published once, at this point I’m just eager to have it back on the market again – and with such a beautiful new face! Plus this time, it comes out with a sequel. I’m always excited to give the world something brand new to read. ^o^

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

Oh, perfect, ‘cause there are three different settings.

1 = The Material Plane – aka, the real world. Like Annabelle’s home, inspired by the house where Childhood Me used to visit my dad’s family over Thanksgiving.

2 = The Immaterial Plane – aka, the world of imagination. Where muses live, and where some characters may choose to hang out, if they’re self-aware enough to know they’ve got an author’s mind to roam.

3 = Book Worlds. The intersection of material and immaterial. Fictional, yes, but no less real to the people who inhabit the story. One of “Inspired”s special charms is that it offers a glimpse into several.

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Boiled down to one word, Luc’s main goal = security. In this, Annabelle is both a tool and an obstacle, because while she’s willing to be the author for Luc and his loved ones, she’s basically just in it for the fun. Clash of motivations. Expect fireworks.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Nothing like putting in the time on the craft to mature an artist! Not that Annabelle doesn’t still have plenty of growing up to do by novel’s end, but you can see she’s getting there.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Themes… How ideas are planted… How stories grow… How people can blossom, with a little help from their friends – real, imaginary, and in between… As for how I want readers to feel at novel’s end, how else? Of course I want them to walk away inspired.

*

And that is that! Related note: I am currently seeking folks interested in providing an early read ‘n’ review of “Inspired”. Is that you? Talk to me!

Over, out, and good luck to any o’ y’all doing NaNo this year. ^o^