New fiction

That short story I mentioned is now up on Re-Vamp:
The Unseen

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Angry androids

A very intense, odd, angry dream involving scheming good and evil androids. I’d like to do a dream scene about it at some point. Soon.

For now, I’ve got revisions on my plate and no real desire to do them. A story I’d had in limbo for some time has finally moved ahead and I’ve got to revisit something I haven’t touched in two years. I’m having trouble going there mentally. And with the Red Box, well… I ripped out everything pretty much back to where I’d picked it up last November. Why am I constantly stuck at this point in the story? I was stuck there for near a year before I decided to just power through late last year. And then when I was revising in the past month or so, I tried to trust what I’d written and move forward but something just doesn’t feel right. Augh.

I feel like every time I start to get engaged I’m torn away by work or other priorities, and that I can’t see this story as a whole. And then I keep getting stuck on that same spot and it’s awful, I just can’t figure out what’s wrong. I’ve tried summarizing everything hoping it’ll give me a clearer picture, of what conflicting storylines or shifted priorities might be making me doubt… It seems to be a matter of me not trusting any decisions I make after that point in the story. If I just chose a way and then stuck to it–but even after I chose a way last time, I just wasn’t happy.

Do you have any stories that have you stumped? Have you ever been thwarted by your own indecision? How did you get past it?

Standards

I’ve been caught saying that I hate romance, but that isn’t really true. If the set up is right, the characters believable and the situation real, I will be caught cooing and cheering like any ‘shipper. I love Jane Austen, and have been known to scribble stories and doodles where X from A tv show finally falls for Y. I just have really high standards. I’m not willing to buy that character A loves character B just because A suddenly says so. You might be able to sell me love at first glance, but you better be a damn good writer/actor/director/etc.

I just hate… “unnecessary” romance. Romance that just feels like a pimple on the face of an otherwise good story, something thrown on hastily because it appeals to an audience segment the writer/director wants to woo. And I hate unbelievable romance. Romance where the characterization is weak and distorted, where it makes no sense, where the emotions ring false. Or where in real life, I’d be advising one or both of them to RUN, NOW, FAST. (Granted, this can also be handled well, and be enjoyable–just don’t ask me to buy it as the One True Love story later on.)

My other problem is that I require a lot of my female characters. I resent when a female character suddenly goes flat and 2D just because she’s in love. (Biggest/quickest example off the top of my head: Trinity in the Matrix.) That’s just terrible writing in my opinion. And it happens too often, especially in the genres I love most. Another thing that bugs me is how often love is the sole, driving force in the woman’s life. For kids, for dead kids, for a man, for the scorn of a man. Women have a lot of motivations, and it sucks that too often they’re reduced to nothing but love.

On the other hand, I wonder if I haven’t become TOO sensitive to that. I almost shied away from writing a story where a woman deals with long, unresolved feelings for a man who did have a heavy impact on her life, because I didn’t want to undermine all that she was and had done since that man. (In the end I wrote it anyway. Did I undermine her? I hope not. I hope I just addressed something that really can affect women AND men, for years, but does not weaken them.) And I’ve been balking at a story I’m writing now, where a woman goes to war in the name of her lover who died, because I worried that I was walking that same path–love as the only motivator, weakening who she was.

But take that same storyline and turn her into a man, and that’s a classic, heroic motivator. You wouldn’t consider him weak. You might even consider him more sympathetic, more noble, because this otherwise strong, powerful man has this vulnerability.

Anyway. Interesting.

A question of theme

I know it’s dangerous to think about at this stage, but I can’t stop thinking about some of the themes in my novel. They’re not issues I’d shy away from, except–the outcomes at the end of the story are not messages I necessarily agree with. And I worry that people might think they are. In one case, I worry that the message I send might be one that makes some readers mad, or dislike the novel.

More beyond the jump; please note there will be spoilers!!

(more…)

Writing through the bumps

Had really rough weekend, and all my best-laid plans to tackle the novel fell to the roadside. I could kick myself, but what good would that do? In the meantime, last week I did finally finish a short story I was severely writer’s-blocked on. Once again I find that sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to why one day I can’t focus, and one day I suddenly let loose 2000 words in a sitting.

The story I finished is a free story for the project I’m working on with Die Booth, Re-Vamp, so I’ll share the link once it’s up. I still need a title, though.

You know, I often either start out with a title and use it as an anchor through the time I’m writing, or I have no title by the time I’m done and then I never know what to call the darn thing.

Little boxes

A lot of my stories look at identity. Sometimes it’s the whole picture: “Who am I?”; sometimes it’s just something in passing, a character’s struggle with an aspect of their personality they’re not comfortable with.

I think part of that is that I’m often struggling with my own identity. The genetic heritage my face declares vs. the culture I grew up in vs. the way I think of myself. The ways I don’t match the stereotypes of the gender I was born with vs. the ways I do. The boxes people put me in vs. the boxes I put myself in.

I know, like any human, I categorize and generalize to make the world understandable, but all the same, I hate categories and generalizations. I hate that people look at me and think that I am a certain type of person just because of what they see. Oh, I know it’s “just human,” but I don’t like it all the same. I really don’t like the way people tell me what I ought to think and believe just because of what my bits are, what my cultural background is or what area I come from. The world is full of all the shades of grey. We may have to think in black and white to function, but forgetting that the world is shaded is a dangerous thing, I think.

My favorite stories and movies and tv shows are the ones that remember this about people, and I hope I can remember it while writing it into my stories, too.

[dream scene] cowboys and trains

Last night’s dreams were filled with cowboys (probably due to staying up too late and watching Deadwood) and (modern) trains (probably due to my affection for trains).

Wrote this snippet this morning on my phone, before I left for work.

—–

There are times when life is unfair; most of the time, in fact. 
Davy considered this one of those times, but even so, there was 
something, hanging on to the side of the quickening train with dirt 
gusting into his eyes, that filled him with a love for life. So though 
he'd left town half in disgrace, with a heavy heart and the knowledge 
he'd never see his momma again, he grinned and whooped as the 
train picked up speed.