Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Nightmare Before Valentine's Day

I have finally started my novel and I have to say it's going well.  In fact, as soon as I'm done with this blog post, I plan on getting back to it.

And I'm happy to say my sex scenes are getting better.  Not that I'm having more sex, but the actual writing of the scenes.  However, I have come up with some interesting problems.

First, my male characters tend to have more than two hands.  In some cases, three or four hands, each with more than six fingers.  One paragraph included a male characters with only one finger on his entire hand and the arm it was attached to had super-stretching abilities.  To make things worse, my sex talk needs work, because my male characters have some pretty vast vocabularies.  Essentially they turn into dandy Victorian men who query their partners with sentences like, "Would the lady appreciate more velocity?"

I have no idea how that happened. 

Then, I realized my female characters were mutating into sieves with a variety of disorders.  One was the propensity to have more than the assigned number of orifices.  I've come to realize in my world, sex is more about mutations.  The other disorder was my female characters producing more fluid than was equal to their body weight.  I'm sure most of the women in my sex scenes died later on from complications brought on by extreme dehydration.  And they all seem to be squirters.  Normally that's a good thing but between the screaming and cursing, it reads like they are attacked with the sudden and painful onset of Diarrhea of the Vagina.  Or one of the new holes I created because I can't count. 

This brings me to Valentine's Day.  A day more cursed than any other day I can recall.  This is my Friday the 13th.  In all my years, I have only had one decent Valentine's Day.  The rest were steaming piles of horseshit.

I've always thought Tim Burton's film The Nightmare Before Christmas should have been done with Valentine's Day.  It makes more sense when you think about it.

Who in the hell actually likes Valentine's Day?  Even pretty women don't like it--and they score a whole bunch of loot.  Who the fuck doesn't like a day when men spend money on you and bring you chocolate?

I remember as a child when everybody got a Valentine's Day card.  It was awful!  We all had to go to the store and buy those packs of shitty Valentine's Day cards, then put them in the little envelopes.  I always made sure to get the cheapest ones.  Plus, they were all the same, so you couldn't have one for guys and one for girls, and we had that awkward thing of guys giving guys lovey-dovey cards covered in hearts.

And the girls in my grade school class were mean.  Each card I got would say something like "My heart is on fire" or something stupid.  But the girls would all take the time to write "NOT" in the sentence just in case I got any wrong ideas.

Oh, and I hated that shitty candy everybody was given, the chalky hearts that had "I love you" printed on them.

High school was worse.  College?  I drank a lot, so that helped.

Now I'm supposed to be an adult and I simply cannot wait for the day to pass.  I've given things to women on Valentine's Day, but it's always awkward.  Sometimes they had boyfriends, sometimes not.  But I learned something--on Valentine's Day, presents can be a weapon.

Weaponized chocolate.

I've always wanted to simply go overboard on the gifts for somebody.  Nobody in particular, just somebody I knew would get totally creeped out by a gift coming from me.  A woman who would see a gift on her desk and see my name, then cringe inside at the realization that I had been thinking of them.

I would cover her desk in shit.  Chocolates, cakes, cookies, candied fruit, giant chocolate bars molded so their names would be spelled out in white chocolate with heart-shaped sprinkles.  Cupcakes formed into a tower and little houses made out of chocolate.  The largest Teddy Bear I could find and perhaps a stuffed bunny, too.  Each with big, red bows that spelled, "To my special someone, Love Ted."

It would be a tsunami of kitsch with massive arrows pointing to her as her face turned red.  The entire workplace would look and smile, knowing that I must really, really like her to have gone to so much trouble.  The expectations would be delightful!

But, I've found that just talking to a woman can get the desired effects.  I once lamented how some of the sluttier women I know never hit on me and how I was hurt by this.  Somebody commented, "Yeah, but Ted--you've killed people."

I put my head down.  "Yeah," I said.  "Well, there's that."

Looking like an axe murderer doesn't make dating easy.  Plus, I have this habit of saying things that pop into my head, and despite all the filters a few choice nuggets still get through.

So yeah, Valentine's Day is a bust for folks like me.  The introverted and the weird--we always have a hard time.  And we're always attracted to the extroverted women who never have a hard time finding anything.  In fact, they can be as picky and fussy as they want to be, because there's a long line of people waiting to be judged.  They get to choose the best of the group while guys like me just want to make sure she won't press charges. 

The Nightmare Before Valentine's Day would be a great movie.  Somebody from the Land of Halloween would stumble into the Land of Valentine's Day.  They would see how happy everybody else is and want to join them, only to be rebuked harshly by everyone.  It would be awful.  They would go back to the Land of Halloween to tell their tale.

The townsfolk would gather and listen to this person tell his story.  "Love," he would say.  "Is just over the distant hill.  But it's not for us.  It's for them only."

Some old witch would stand up and say, "I have an idea!  We should share Halloween with them so maybe they'll share Valentine's Day with us!"

All the people of Halloween would then pile into their vans loaded with zip ties, duct tape, roofies, strong booze and other assorted tools and toys.

I'm not sure how the rest would go.  Every time I try to plot it out everything turns into some weird BDSM/Hellraiser scene where innocent townsfolk run screaming through the streets in leather fetish clothes while Halloween people try to explain safewords.

Valentine's Day, bloody Valentine's Day.  Some worlds are just never meant to be together. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Holiday for Writers

I hate bullies. 

Bullies are parasites that take advantage of nice people.  The quiet ones who mind their own business and have a sense of propriety.

So recently I found a blog post by Damien Walters where she posted her works published in 2013.  I love her work.  Her debut novel, Ink, was the first book I reviewed on this blog.  I purchased it within hours of it being available on Amazon.  Her voice has a certain dark beauty that reminds me of MR James only with a more sensual feel.

I was looking forward to her list of published works for 2013 so I knew what to get when money became available.  This way I would know where to find more works by her.  I look forward to lists such as these from a number writers I admire.  

But she mentioned something I had no idea was an issue in the Writing World.  Apparently, some people are butthurt that writers post these lists of published works at the end of the year because it is also the time when the nominations for various awards begin.  Damien linked to a post made by Amal El-Mohtar that took things a step further and really opened my eyes.

We need to have a serious talk about awards and eligibility and the awkward eggshell-dance people feel obligated to do every time this year.

What I have come to realize is there are some amazing writers out there, some who happen to be women, that are being intimidated into silence about their accomplishments.  As if modesty was somehow translated into shutting up about what they have done.

What kind of horseshit is this?

Writers work hard on their stories.  They spend hours with their asses in a chair, pounding out words, fretting over the right word and then facing all kinds of rejection.  Writers of any gender, breed, or species have the right to be proud of getting their work accepted.

And for those of us who are fans of that writer, or even for those of us who trust a friend's taste in fiction, those lists are important.  I need to know where to go to find the good shit when I have the money to afford it.

Who the fuck is going to tell me I can't have my lists?  Furthermore, what kind of asshole is telling women to shut up and be modest?

That is the behavior of a bully.

It is seems to be rooted in envy.  The butthurt flows freely because a woman (gasp) was published instead of a man.  Or maybe some man wants his name more prominently displayed instead of a woman's.

Either way, these lists are important.  They are important because people like me have shitty memories for details due to years of heavy chocolate abuse.

They are important because I like to know what my friends are reading.  My friends are smart and have good taste.  They are constantly sending me great names and excellent works.  I click on those links and look forward to a new find each time.

These lists are important because if something comes out in January, who in the fuck is going to remember it in December?

When I was a child, I used to give a shit about pop music.  I always found it stupid, even then, how songs at the top of the charts in December were called Song of the Year.  Is that what fiction is about?  Get your shit published in November or December so you'll win an award?  If it's published in January or February it must be crap because nobody will remember it?

Enough of this shit. 

Instead of making introverted writers feel empowered in some uncomfortable hugfest, let's just all do it together and take the emotional slime out of the equation.

On the first Monday of each January we will have a holiday called Post Day.  It is the day when every single writer, veteran or new, posts a list of all their works published in the previous year.  Post it on your blog, post it on Facebook, post it in a forum.  Just post it! 

I don't have the right to give anybody permission to be a human being.  And I certainly don't have the right to say I'm empowering anybody.  But I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

But now we need to circulate this new holiday.  And if the date is too late for most awards, we'll move it up, because there is some damned good work out there that I keep missing.  I hate reading a short story years after it's been published only to wonder how in the fuck I missed it the first time.

This needs to be done.  No writer, regardless of gender, should be made to feel ashamed for wanting somebody to like their work.   And if anybody doesn't like it, or makes a butthurt comment about modesty, please send them my way.

Uncle Ted can handle a bully just fine. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Attack of the Plot Bunnies

A plot bunny is when you think up a story and it bugs the crap out of you until it gets written.  It is a welcomed demon writers suffer through.

I am surrounded by plot bunnies and only so much time.

The goal for this week is to get a couple more stories submitted.  I have to clean up a couple and edit out the Midian references in another.  I'm still pissed about that but it happens.  Of all the stories to get lost in the shuffle, the one I felt the most confident about and the one for a specific market. 

And then there is the Secret Project I cannot talk about here.  That is taking up some time as well.

I'm going to start using Dragon speech-to-text software soon because I simply can't be on my ass any more.  My tailbone is really paying a heavy price for all this sitting.  I'm constantly in pain when I get up and it's all because I live in front of a computer.

So the game plan is to take advantage of the bad weather and write like a maniac.  These plot bunnies are multiplying like...well, rabbits.