Category Archives: Writing

Here Again

I’m sitting here, trying to work up the courage to write. It’s just Reluctant Godmother #2; certainly not scary-hard (though it is my first sequel, and that gives me mental discomfort). I’ve done my plotting work, so even though this particular scene is kind of up-in-the-air still, I know where I am and where I’m going. I wrote last week, and everything worked perfectly.

Yet here I sit, scared to start again. I can’t even make myself click over to Scrivener to look at the file. My stomach feels like river rapids – churning fast and chaotic around hard knots. My neck is tight. My shoulders already ache, partially from physical therapy yesterday and partially because I’m not on the right level with my desk. I’ve already added more air to the yoga ball that is my chair six times and I don’t want to keep fighting with it. I don’t want to fight with anything right now, when all my attention is taken by the fear.

What if it happens again?

I was sitting here three and a half months ago when I got light-headed and felt like I was going to pass out. Here, at this computer, in this corner, on this ball. For two weeks, every time I tried to write, the same thing happened. And then I came down with something that resembled a month-long stomach bug, and for which I still have no answers. For three months, I’ve seen doctor after doctor. Visited the ER more times than I can remember. Fought through raging torrents of anxiety and panic attacks as I felt like I was coming apart at the mental/emotional/physical seams. I let them run test after test and take vial after vial of blood.

I’m anemic now. Vitamin D deficient. I’m staring down future thyroid removal, possible problems getting pregnant when I want to, and yesterday they told me my blood pressure issues have caused my heart to start growing too thick. Important things to know, absolutely. I’m 36, which feels like too young for all that, but is also young enough to do something about it. To get out in front of it. I’m armed with newfound resilience, knowledge, and an understanding of my own weaknesses I didn’t have before.

But it all started here, on this ball, writing this story.

I don’t want to go through it again. I’m tensing against that light-headedness and the stomach pains that came after it before I even open the file.

How can I be a writer if I can’t write?

That question has plagued me for three months. The self-doubt that came with it was crushing. Enough to give up my goals. To cast aside the decade-plus of working toward them. It doesn’t matter how much willpower, dedication, or tenacity I summon up if my body just can’t do it. My bank account is empty, so there’s no making up for it with a new desk, chair, or some other contraption. The only resources I have at my disposal are contained in the same 10×10 room I’ve barely left these long, exhausting three months.

Still, I fought it. I sent the beginning of my side project to the muse it belongs to. That was terrifying in a completely different way–not least because I hadn’t ever actually told him he was my muse. Putting that envelope in the mail was a huge deal. I wish I could say I thrummed with fiery courage coursing through my veins…but I can’t. Instead, I spent the next three days feeling vaguely queasy and the size of Thumbelina.

And then one day, I was too weary to keep fighting. For three weeks, I questioned everything. Do I want to be a writer? Do I want to keep chasing something that causes me so much anxiety? Do I want to sit at the keys, day after day, doing the same thing for the same ineffectual purpose, losing a little bit more of my confidence and self-belief with every book release? Did I want to figure out how to be able to sit there that long at all? I let go of all the intentions, all the hopes, all the desires. I really didn’t know if I was going to pick them up again. I still don’t.

But here I am again, trying.

Showing up at the keys.

Terrified, but here. Again.

Because that is something I’m coming to understand about writers. Possibly about all artists in general…

We are like phoenixes. We burn, bright and shining, until we burn ourselves out. Maybe from working too hard or trying too long. Maybe from getting ahead of ourselves. Maybe from dreaming too big or putting too much of ourselves into our works. We flame out.

But those who believe, those with the courage and the desire and the need, brush off the ashes and try again.

I don’t know when I will finish RG2. Or how I’ll manage it. I don’t know what in the world I’m going to do with the limp strings of a career that’s never been fruitful.

But I do know that I’m here, sitting on this ball, writing this post.

No light-headedness. No stomach pains.

And for today, that’s enough.

Advertisements

Discipline

One of the defining characteristics of a solid indie author is the ability to produce words.  Words that gather together to create books.  Books that get released relatively frequently.  From what I’ve been reading on Kboards, it sounds like “relatively frequently” equals about two months, and every month is even better.

Amusingly (to me, anyway), this is the schedule I originally laid out for the Chronicles of the 13 Colonies.  13 novellas interspersing novels at regular intervals.  Always producing something new, if somewhat short in nature.  Real life chucked that out the window, and it’s now been over nine months since I published One For All.

That’s not what I would call “relatively” frequently, let alone how it’s defined by the indie market.

What seems to be the defining mode of producing indie words?  Discipline.  (It’s also, by the by, an important part of success in most endeavors.  Especially if one wants to repeat that success.  There are other routes, certainly, but this is the most common.)

Discipline is the ability to sit down and write, day in and day out.  It’s the thing that got my friend out to run a mile every day for a year.  It’s what that whole “wax on, wax off” business was about.

Personally, I define discipline simply: It’s the ability to show up and consistently do what you don’t want to do.

Showing up when you want to be there?  Easy.  Lots of motivation there, whether it’s the enjoyment of the thing or the company or whatever makes it a desirable condition.  My favorite two jobs, while both menial labor and often very physically demanding, never made me not want to show up.  I was excited to go to work.  Even on bad or off days, the worst I could say was that it took a little longer to get there.  They required no effort on my part to show up, and I never dreamed of taking a sick day just to stay home.

Same was true of the two novels I finished.  I loved them.  They were easy-peasy.  I showed up to the keys excited to be there (minus the awful middle/one-third point that always kills me).  It took no effort to write them.  Routine, yes.  But discipline?  Nah.

Discipline is the thing that gets you to work when you really don’t want to be there.  Or to college classes you hate.  It’s the thing that achieves consistency in your day that builds to months and then years of effort and achievement.

I have no discipline.  I blame it on a lot of things – getting mentally bored (which I do comparatively quickly); never being taught; being lazy; having more important things to do; having too many demands on too little time; and more.  While all of those factors are true and real, leaning on them doesn’t get me any closer to developing discipline.

I’m having a difficult time with this problem right now.  I got a day job that I LOVE – it’s fun, exciting, and uses my creative skills perfectly – and yet I still balk when I sit down to work.  It’s work-from-home, which means all the usual distractions are there with none of the required discipline involved in having a job.  I WANT to do the work for all the reasons I loved those other two jobs…and yet I can’t seem to make myself sit and work.

People who have discipline don’t understand people who don’t.  Especially if they were born with it or were taught at a young age so it’s been a natural part of their lives for a long, long time.  None of them can teach it (just like I can’t teach scenery description or character creation; they’re just things I do), which means the only viable way of learning is to teach myself.

This is proving difficult, largely because there are multiple types of discipline.  The kind that’s attached to making responsible decisions?  I’ve got that leaking out my pores.  The kind that lends itself to self-comportment, manners, and behavior?  That was drilled into me by my grandmother at a young age.  I’ve even got some of those leadership types (though I don’t use them often).  The only thing I have a problem with is showing up to do something that seems trivial, boring, or too much investment for not enough return.  Many articles and self-help programs treat them all the same.  Like it’s a matter of willpower.  And it’s not.  At all.  At least not for me.

So, on my own, I’ve been tracking my habits.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. I work best when I’m interested.
2. I work best at  night, roughly about the time I should be going to bed.
3. Little beginning rituals help – setting the scene (pulling back the shades to let in the sunlight, establishing a clean workspace, etc.) or “going to work” (getting dressed, doing hair, etc. – these are especially important if one does not actually *go* to work).
4. I will distract myself if I don’t want to do something, and do it with consummate grace and legitimacy (“trading” work for work-related activities, like reading industry blogs, for example).
5. Not allowing myself to do something until I hit a goal doesn’t work.  EVER. (Which is the difference between willpower and discipline, and the different areas of discipline – I have ridiculous amounts of discipline to be able to go without whatever I want.)
6. Rewards don’t work for me (they have to be pretty spectacular and $$$ to matter to me, but they have to fit in my $/3 budget…which they can’t, by definition).
7. Taking breaks are good for my body, but not for my brain.
8. An awake and excited creative brain does not (necessarily) equal a productive session.
9. Competition is a surefire way to make me quit.
10. Cooperative sessions (“word wars,” brainstorming collectives, sharing work, etc.) make me excited to be there.
11. Food (and worrying about it) alters my productivity.
12. A happy, healthy body makes me more likely to work.
13. A bored, sad, or pained body is my #1 reason not to work.
14. Lack of certainty is #2 (this is both a lack of confidence in my ability to do what needs doing, and a lack of info/plot/etc.).
15.I will not work, at all, if I’m worried about money or anything attached to it.
16. Setting productivity goals depresses me.
17. Setting time goals makes it difficult to focus.
18. Setting self-imposed deadlines doesn’t work.
19. Externally imposed deadlines do, but only if there’s a real, scary consequence for failing to meet them.
20. Being in the moment (setting aside worry, planning, all external-to-right-here-right-now concerns) is extremely important to achieving productivity.

With this list, I intend to put together a Disciplinary Program for myself.  I may post it.  I may post the challenge I set for myself.  I may pretend it doesn’t exist at all, and let my subconscious work on it.  But I will definitely update with the end result!

Do you have discipline tricks?  Advice to the all-over-the-place writers?

Wait…What Month Is It?

This summer has been a pain, both literally and figuratively.  After spending the first three-ish weeks in June sick, I sprained my right ankle.  Just as I recovered from that, I sprained my left ankle.  Clearly, my body is trying to tell me something.  😛

In contrast, I spent the first week of July (in between sprains) writing a tv pilot.  I doubt it will ever, ever, ever get produced, but someday I may turn it into a book series.  In fact, that was my original intention – books first, show later.  It just randomly happened that I needed exactly that sort of script (military sci-fi) to apply to my dream day job.  So I churned it out in a week.

I haven’t had that much fun writing in…goodness, I don’t even remember!  Scripts are so very different from prose.  Harder in a lot of ways, simpler in others.  Extra hard on the ego, if one is used to writing prose.  (I would spend 8 hours a day on it and net a total of about 2000 words. Oh, the agony!)  But I discovered that casting my characters made them instantly more alive when they landed on the page.  This has been true in the past, too – in my first completed manuscript, I based the villain on Jason Isaac’s portrayal of Lucius Malfoy.  I loved writing the character and never lost touch with his appearance or his voice.  The voice, really, is what makes it easy.  And in a script, the characters ONLY talk.  If they’re not saying it or showing it, it doesn’t get written.  That was the beautifully challenging part.  It made me pick up scenes and flip them around in my head to figure out how best to convey important information.

Fun, fun, fun!

That fun – and the habit of writing almost every night until 4am – brought energy back to my creative brain.  It REALLY needed a boost!  This was an awesome way to get it. 😀

I think I’ve finally decided on a direction.  I’m not going to tell you what that direction is quite yet, but it feels good to have my head on straight.  Backwards was really giving my neck a crick. 😉

Look for updates soon, and follow me on Twitter for more in-the-moment tidbits.

Know Your Process

My old friend, Kathryn St. John-Shin, recently posted about plotting.  She added a great infographic flowchart for good plotting that’s totally worth the look.

Anyway, her post got me thinking.  I mentioned last time that I’ve been having major writer’s block.  At first I thought it was a plotting problem, so I super-plotted the story I was working on (“The Shot Heard ‘Round the Planet” from the 13 Colonies series).  It turned out pretty well, and I was happy with it.  So I sat down to write it, and…nothin’.  Finally, I decided it must be a problem of confidence because the story was too big for me right now.  I decided to set Shot aside for a while and started a new story.  So much stress had seeped into my writing, I wanted to do something fun.  What started out as a 99.99% unplotted YA/NA romantic paranormal serial story became a study in non-linear structure.  Cool stuff, but not exactly without pressure. 30,000 words in, I hit a wall.

I’ve pursued every route I know of to get back to Pooh Corner creative space.  I’ve journaled.  I’ve jotted.  I’ve brainstormed.  I’ve come up with new stories, looked up new words, read over old work.  Read a book.  Learned new approaches.  Immersed myself in writing/publishing blogs and listened to podcasts.  Nothing worked!

I’ve been wallowing in self-doubt and angst for the last week or so, until I finally hit the Black Moment.  That point at which an artist looks at their work, picks up the towel, and prepares to throw it in because they ‘obviously’ don’t have what it takes to succeed.  I thought back over all my stories and thought, “What’s the point?  I’ll never be able to do this for a living.  I need money, like, yesterday, and I have to choose between writing and a day job, and what if I get a job and can’t find a way to work in writing?  What if I slip backward and become a wannabe writer again, unwilling to work hard to make it happen?  What if it stops mattering??”

And then I read Katie’s post today and I smacked myself in the forehead (literally, facepalm!).  I’ve been such an idiot.

With every book – long or short, old or new – I hit a point where I hate everything I write.  I loathe every word I type, every character I’ve ever written.  Nothing will EVER be good enough!  The WOE!  The ANGST!  I curse the heavens, berate my inner muse for being too lazy and too sassy to be of any help, and cry over the keyboard.  It’s pretty pathetic, and it happens with every. book.

You see, my Black Moment is part of my writing process.  It’s been so long since I’ve had heavy writing time that I’d forgotten.  But somewhere between the one-quarter mark and the one-third mark, I lose all hope.  My momentum hits a wall.  My creativity dries up.  I question every choice I have made and was planning to make, and most of them come up wanting.  And then, after enough time has passed, that Black Moment of self-doubt metamorphoses into something beautiful.  I make the decision to keep fighting, to keep writing, to keep trying.  Suddenly, I become possessed with a wealth of determination, perseverance, and fortitude.  I know my story’s strengths and weaknesses; I know where I’m going and what I want to accomplish.  And I write.  And I write.  And I write.

Without that End of the World, Write No More, Black Moment, I wouldn’t have the energy and commitment to finish the book.  If I don’t face those feelings and work through them, I end up with Story ADD, unable to get into a story let alone finish anything.

If you’re serious about having a writing career (as opposed to writing a book, which is its own legitimate goal), you need to know your process.  To do that, you have to write.  A lot.  And then write a lot more.  Just as importantly, you have to FINISH things.  

My process looks something like this:

1. Get blinded by an awesome story idea.
2. Percolate idea, let the characters settle into the casting office with a cup of tea.
3. Assemble, in my head, a variety of scenes and necessary turning points (almost always character-based).
4. Begin writing.
5. Remember how hard it is to shut off the internal editor, but try hard anyway.
6. Fall in love with my characters.  Make myself laugh.
7. Shove it at the husband for a little external validation (and so I can see if I’m accomplishing what I want).
8. Cheer as I pass 20k.
9. Black Moment of Doooooom.
10. Days, weeks, months down the road, have an epiphany/surge of determination and get back to it.
11. Get lost.  A lot.  Write a bunch of really boring stuff until the middle is over and the story has transitioned into exciting territory again.
12. Write.  Write.  Write.
13. Cease being able to think about anything but all the threads coming together, all day long.
14. Ignore everything else possible in life to get to the end faster.
15. Suddenly discover 80% of my plot in two scenes during the climax.
16. Breathlessly write the last few chapters.
17. Discover more info than expected in the denouement (and possibly find the plot of book 2 buried inside).
18. The End (eventually…my denouements tend to go on and on and on…).
19. Sleep, laugh, and socialize – a lot – to make up for the near-total isolation and extreme concentration of the last few weeks.
20. Start thinking about edits.

Knowing your process means you can accommodate it.  For instance, #9 is where I’m most likely to give up.  #11, I’m going to need calculated spurts of limited distractions followed by lots of distractions to stay somewhat focused.  Starting at #14, my husband knows not to expect me to do anything but work.  I also know when that rollercoaster starts down the mega hill at #15, everything’s going to be okay; I won’t freak out about how to make all these ideas and threads and subplots work because I know from experience they’re already in the story; all I have to do is remind myself I can fix it in edits, and then put my hands in the air and yell “woooooo!” as it all rushes in.

Not remembering my process has brought me perilously close to giving up.  It’s going to be a little different, now I’m a mom and now I have a professional side to think about.  My blogs are going to be really long and rambly, and I don’t beat myself up (much) over it.  I could write them more professionally, edit them better, but I know I won’t and cut myself some slack (this post has been written over the course of making and eating lunch and watching Tinkerbell: The Pirate Fairy, interspersed with potty training breaks and fights over how much he has to eat in order to keep watching).  It’s going to be somewhat discombobulated, and I’m okay with that – at least the post got written.  I’m going to read over it once while rubbing my son’s back and trying to convince him that naps are fun.  Then I’m going to hit Publish and never think about it again.  And all of that is okay.  Not ideal parenting and not ideal writing, but workable.

Know your process.  Embrace it.  Work with it.  It’ll make your life a whole lot easier.

What’s the worst part of your process?  The best?

Pre-Summer Update

I’ve been promising updates, exciting information, and reasons to check back…and none of it’s happened.  Many humble, tummy-to-floor prostrations for my silence!  Life got stressful, as it’s wont to do.  We had to decide if it was worth it to move (it’s not) and then figure out how we’re going to pay for our rather ridiculously expensive apartment.  Which means I’ve been searching for a day job.  I found one that is *perfect* for me, so fingers crossed and happy thoughts for me that I get an interview.  Because otherwise, I’m about two breaths away from applying at Chick-fil-a.  (Not to knock them; they are a FINE, TASTY emporium of savory chicken…we eat there way too often.  But I’d really like to make more than minimum wage…ah, to dream!)

The awesome thing about not moving means that we’ve turned our now-vacant third bedroom into an office for me to write in.  It’s doing double-awesome duty because I now have room to work AND my son has room to play Hundred Lego Pick-Up at the same time.  Except I’ve discovered my office chair is absolutely HORRID, and largely responsible for A) my shoulder issues and B) my neck problems (and possibly C) my lower extremity circulation troubles).  I’d love an ergonomic chair (heck, so long as I’m dreaming, what I REALLY want is one of these spectacular Zero Gravity Workstations…), but they’re pricey.  I should probably get a new desk, too.  As it is, I’m making do with my old, crumbling desk, my cheap new monitor raised on a pair of old bed blocks, and my exercise ball.  I just read that sitting on a ball for too long can put undo strain on your lower back (more than simply sitting in a chair, even), but I guess we’ll deal with that when we come to it.  Right now, the only problem I’m worried about is how to type comfortably and remain in the same place.  Typing comfortably means holding the keyboard on my lap, but then I come close to dropping the keyboard all the time and falling off the ball.  Remaining stationary means leaving the keyboard on the tray but makes my back and shoulder ache before too long.  Ah, the woes of a modern writer!

I’ve still got some big news coming, but I decided to hold off until I knew more about it and was ready to do a full reveal.  Or at least close to.  The change of venue plus futzing with my setup plus all the stress of finding a job means I’m having a killer case of writer’s block.  It doesn’t matter what I try to work on – and I’ve tried lots of options.  I can’t get ANYWHERE with ANY of it.  Practical, day-side me says I should stop worrying about it and focus on getting a job, paying the bills, figuring out daycare, blah blah blah.  Creative-side me says, “Don’t you dare!  You can’t just publish a book and give up!”  Unfortunately, they’re both right.  I have yet to determine how to reconcile this conundrum.

Rest assured I’m TRYING.  I really am doing my best.  I’ve sworn off Facebook and computer games for all of June in the hopes it helps me concentrate.  I’ve resolved to blog at least once a week.  And I’m going to try REALLY HARD to balance my fitness needs with my writing needs (there’s never enough brain power in the day, it seems).  Come hell or high water (or extreme heat, as is looking might be the case right now), I will have a story to talk about come July!

Here’s a jumble of possibilities, just to give you a glimpse at my plate:

The Shot Heard ‘Round the Planet: A tale of Colony 1 (13 Colonies, sci-fi) – I’ve been working (and subsequently stuck) on this for what feels like FOREVER.
Secret, Unnamed Project (Paranormal YA/NA) – This is the one I started a month or two ago to give me some fun outlet while stuck on Shot.  Except I’m now stuck on this one, too.
Gryphon’s Overture Rewrite (Steampunk Romantic Fantasy) – This is my Kickstarter project…the one I realized needed a complete rewrite from beginning to end before I can ever consider running the Kickstarter. (That was a very sad day.)
Unnamed Traditional Project (Urban Fantasy) – I started this one two years ago, and I LOVE it.  But it also doesn’t contribute to my indie career, soooo…  (Plus, my long-time friend, Kathryn St. John-Shin, is working on a Greek-mythology-based traditional novel right now, and I don’t want to cross wires.  It kills me that she won’t let me read it.  Argh!  But I suppose that’s best…for now…at least until I come up with some mastermind scheme to snatch it from her clutches…)  I still get caught up in the protag’s succubus call from time to time, though.
And of course, there’s Celluloid Files.  I should really do a post regarding its status, shouldn’t I?  Slacker, Girly, slacker!

So that’s where I stand right now.  A little dazed, a lot confused, and just plain stuck.  But looking forward to (hopefully) getting a lot done in the bright, sunshiney months ahead!

If you have any questions, please do leave a comment and ask them – I’m gonna need content for future posts. 🙂

Habits and the EarthGirly

Once upon a time, I started every day off right: I read industry blogs over breakfast.  This got me into the writer mindset immediately, kept me up-to-date on what was happening in the world of publishing, and, if I was lucky, gave me ideas to put into my own writing.

Ever since my baby turned into a rambunctious toddler, I’ve stopped doing this.  There are now too many things to fit in immediately upon waking that I don’t have the space to sit and “just read.”  I feel like I only get a few spare moments to read in peace (deceptive and untrue as it may be), and I don’t want to use it up on “frivolous” things.  Because my husband and I made a choice when we first got married that I would write instead of work, we’ve lived the life of the starving artist.  I didn’t regret that decision at all…until the economy fell apart and I suddenly had zero job prospects when I needed them.  I still need them, years later; I would like to no longer worry every week about whether or not we have money to buy things like food and toilet paper.  I would like to be able to take my son to the zoo occasionally without saying, “Here are the animals!  Now expect nothing but nutrition-less pasta for the next week.” (Then again, he’d be excited: “What?  Animals AND pasta with NO veggies to hide from?  Best. Mommy. Ever!”  In his own toddler-like, non-verbal way, of course.)  When faced with the necessity of finding a job, reading industry blogs really does seem sort of frivolous.

For the first time in years, I have no one but myself to look after (the boy-folk are visiting the in-laws).  And what did I do?  I woke up, fixed myself breakfast, and read industry blogs.

Immediately, I was struck with how different it makes me feel.  Within five minutes, I’m both student and professional.  I feel confident and energetic.  I want to go play with my words, explore my worlds, pal around with my characters!  I’m optimistic about my future prospects, and I can’t wait to get started!

Which tells me this: In order to be successful as a writer (as an author is another matter entirely, one I’m still learning about), I need to begin my day in the writing world.  I need to make thinking about writing as much of a habit as I’m trying to make the act of writing.  I need to begin with wordsmithing so it will be easier to smith words when I find the time later in the day.

I’m also hoping this will help me squeeze words in where I can, rather than waiting for an opening.  We’ll see!

This week, I want to start every day with industry blogs.  At least two posts on nothing but writing.  I have a link of publishing folks on my side bar; these are the people I find helpful, inspirational, informative, or just plain fun.  Some of them I’ve been following for over a decade while others arrived in the last couple of years.  I’m going to actually start reading all of them again!

If you’re a writer, I want to stress how important it is to delve into the minds, hearts, and professional opinions of other writers.  Especially the ones who write better than you do.  Because someone out there always writes better than you do.  Maybe it’s just one aspect – character, description, dialogue – but somebody (and probably many, many somebodies) does it better than you can.  Find those people.  Read their work.  Read their blogs.  Learn what you can and let your unconscious mind absorb the rest.  Because eventually, it comes in handy.  You may not even realize you’ve learned something until one day you look back over your writing and say, “Great gobs of galleon grease!  When did I learn how to show vs. tell so well?  I rock!”  There is no substitution for learning by observing in writing.  While we can take classes and be taught the rules of our elements, there is no guarantee we will actually understand how to bring them together.  Observation, letting our critical thinking happen when we’re not being tested on it, is crucial to becoming better writers.

Speaking of which, I also need to start reading books more often (read: again).  But that’s a tale for a different post.

Coming Soon: The Celluloid Files

Once upon a time, I fell into the Land of Frustration.  I’d been trying to publish traditionally for six or seven years, and though I was drawing closer to a deal with every attempt, I was getting more and more discouraged.  I hadn’t yet discovered the possibilities of self-publishing, so all I knew was that the internet was an untapped market.  I wanted people to be able to read my writing (to share the fun!), and that was more important than any money I might make off of it someday.  I decided, after much brainstorming, that I would present a story on Facebook in multiple parts.  But what would make a fun, entertaining story?  The answer was simple: Write the story that’s been dashing through my head for years, starring silly, over-the-top versions of a group of my old coworkers.  Many of us speak fondly on all the shenanigans of the theatre days.  Many of us married people we met there.  Some of us formed lifelong friendships.  I thought they would get a kick out of reading it, and I would certainly enjoy writing it.

But then I got into IP rights, Facebook policy, and other creativity-eating problems.  Like, what if the people I was going to write about got upset?  What if, in my quest for a good story, I hurt people’s feelings?  Somebody has to be a villain, after all.  The names are changed.  The personalities are specific, but blown up, far outside of reality.  Would that be enough?  Or would I be setting myself up for a lawsuit before I even got my career started?  Not really something I wanted to do.

So I erred on the side of caution and put it away.  All for the better, really, because I came up with the idea for the 13 Colonies to fill the sudden gap.

But then last weekend, a few vocal old friends talked me into posting their characters’ introductions.  In reading them, I discovered how sheerly awesome the story had been.  The voice was…well, it was good.  My stylistic choices show evidence of the evolution to One For All, but they’re lighter, more reminiscent of younger me.  I loved it.  I suddenly remembered why I was so excited about writing it.  And, after posting those snippets, I was reminded of why I was so excited to share it.  Because those vocal old friends loved it, too.  And suddenly, my brain was alight with exultant brainstorming to make this happen.  I called back from memory the original plan, the vague plot of the story (which I only got about two chapters into writing), and realized just how awesome it could be, right now.  So I polled the friends who would be in it, and within two hours I had a majority vote for “DO IT!”  Since then, the outpouring of excitement and camaraderie has been…well, kind of flooring.  I’m actually kind of awestruck and pretty darn inspired.  😀  Now I just have to find what I did with my notes (which, in the mess of boxes, bags, and plastic tubs I currently call a home, is easier said than done)…

Without further ado, I am pleased to announce:

The Celluloid Files

When Annika Ambray inherits her aunt’s fortune, she doesn’t expect a million dollars.  But earning it might not be worth the trouble, despite her aunt’s wishes.  The town she’s been charged to save is more like the shadow of a long-forgotten Hollywood movie, and the people in it are just as strange and eccentric as her aunt.  Apparently, they also have just as many secrets.
Annika has a year to breathe life back into Meadowhaven,
and the residents aren’t going to make her job easy.

Coming Soon!
Join the cast and crew of The Celluloid Files
each Friday, right here on my blog!

(Release Date TBA.)