lathriel: (bro dude)

Cross-posted from Ink, Blood, Magic:

"After months of waiting with bated breath (okay, bated breath was really just the last few days before I got the email), I finally received word that I have been accepted into Nova Ren Suma’s YA novel-writing workshop at Djerassi! I’m incredibly honored and grateful for the opportunity to work not only with an author that has deeply inspired me as a writer and as a person, but also to be working with 9 other talented writers! I’m looking forward to some inspiring people and conversations, and learning whatever I can from each and every person present. My brain is ready for your wisdom! And I guess to share whatever wisdom I might have (lol).

I’ve said it a million times before, but one of the reasons why I continue to work towards having a traditional publishing experience is because I want to always be working towards becoming the best writer that I can possibly be. I hope that, with the right agent and editor, I can learn and grow as a writer and a storyteller. Lessons from the traditional publishing world are one of the few unexplored frontiers for me, as someone who’s been a self-proclaimed writer since before I could spell my own name. You see, (and you’ll have to pardon the unintentional humblebrag) all my life I’ve had the unsatisfying experience of being a “really good writer for my age” when I was younger or “extremely talented.” Which means that, in every creative writing class and every writing workshop, even up to an agent-fishing-type conference just a few years ago, I’ve always been a big fish in a small-to-medium pond, and the focus was always on teaching those smaller fish. That’s awesome when two agents are fighting over you at a conference–not so great when all the full manuscript requests over the years never seem to pan out.

I’m lucky. I know I’m a good writer. I believe in that wholeheartedly, even when I also know that what I’m writing is shit (I know I can fix it. Revision is glorious). Just having that in my core belief system puts me miles ahead of a lot of creative types. But I know I have plenty left to learn, that my writing can always be even better, that there will never come a day when I am done perfecting my voice, my craft, my process, my method.

I am not a religious person, but for me, everything in life rests on a spiritual foundation. Every choice I’ve made; every relationship I keep or dissolve; the food I eat, the products I buy; the way I see everything in the entire world–it all comes down to the things that I believe in, deeply, when nothing else can be known for certain. Chosing to self publish, despite the criticism I knew it would invite, was based on those core beliefs (and a handful of editors validating my work but telling me, essentially, “as good as it is, no publisher will take a chance on something so strange.”). I love the freedom of self publishing, the possibilities it presents, and, you know 70% royalties on ebook sales doesn’t hurt either.

But I didn’t do it for money. I did it because unpublished novels that I know are good feel like deaths in the family–far worse than an abandoned manuscript that wasn’t ever going to get better. And besides, just because a novel doesn’t necessarily have a broad appeal doesn’t mean it’s not a great novel with the potential to change someone’s life.

Admittedly, that sounds really defensive. I’m not here to defend my choice to self-publish my early work in this ever-changing landscape of publishing. But consider this: have you ever loved the shit out of something no one in your life had ever heard of, that never gained in popularity (or if it did it took a very long time)? Have you ever loved a person that no one else even notices, or wanted to get to know the super shy kid in class that everyone else ignores? Have you ever found an old book at a used book store, a novel or a book of poems, or found a piece of art and fallen completely in love with it and then found out there is ZERO information on that poor author/artist who probably died in obscurity?

Okay, well, maybe you have and maybe you haven’t. These probably aren’t universal experiences. Maybe there are just some people who live a kind of universal experience themselves, and there’s nothing obscure about them. Hipsters weep for them, and chances are good that they probably wouldn’t like the books I’ve self-published. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But let’s be honest–the mark of a great piece of art, including fiction, is that it speaksto us. And the more people a work of art speaks to, the greater it is, in history and theory. And, also, let’s be more honest: the more people it speaks to, the more appealing it is to anyone who stands to profit from representing it.

How to appeal to the masses (or a large enough mass to make your art lucrative, anyway) is probably the hardest thing for any artist to learn, if indeed it is something that you can learn. Some people have it–some people, who probably already enjoy things that appeal to larger groups of people, naturally tell stories that fit into that world and appeal to those masses. For other people, like myself, we tend towards things that may be excellent, but unmarketable. Remarkable, but strange. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, since my whole life people have repeatedly told me the things I say and do are “lol so weird” and my response has always been “Really? That’s weird? Not the spoon cult I started in eighth grade, or the comics I used to draw about my sociopathic alter ego?”

I don’t know if you can actually learn how to write stories that appeal to more people–and if you can, I don’t know that it would actually serve your writing. I’ve experienced myself, and heard countless tales from other authors, how writing for mass appeal can cause devastating depression and creative blocks. But I do believe that as we grow into our art, we connect more and more with that deep undercurrent of raw humanity that lies at the foundation of all creativity. I believe that if we follow our hearts and hone our craft and keep writing our words, no matter what, that the stories we write will naturally evolve into things that are bigger than our quirks and fascinations, our talent and our vision. A great story–and great art–is always much more than the sum of the artist’s parts.

Anyway. I’m finishing the second draft of The Tower and starting the outline for my next stand-alone YA novel, I’ve got an AMAZING narrator contracted for the Ghost City audiobook, and I’m really looking forward to the conference in June. So that’s where I’m at right now. :D"

lathriel: (Default)
I've finally backed away from the edge of desperation that i'd been tracing for a while. *phew* life was just getting a wee bit out of control there for a while. But I had some breakthroughs this weekend and week, despite still living out of boxes and STILL getting the rest of our stuff from the apartment. I don't even want to talk about that.

But I discovered a lovely little coffee shop a few blocks from my house, and I plan on many pilgrimages there. And I plugged in my keyboard the other night and played for a while. And I even hauled out my cello and tuned it and played, and dear sweet baby jeebus did that feel good. Unfortunately its the cheapest piece of crap cello one can buy, so it never really sounds all that great. I'd like to buy a better one someday, because I seriously need to play more often--I was totally ramped up after I played, and I was in an amazing mood for 24 straight hours. I'm still feeling pretty good. But I go through weird musical phases, you know? I won't deny that I have musical talent, I can pick up any instrument and play it... A little. And there are so many instruments I love to play. So if I want to get really good at one... How would I choose? And I go through phases where I'm way more excited about one over the others. Like, I think maybe if I took lessons on piano is get really good. I can play a lot now, I can play Brick by Ben Folds, and some Radiohead songs, and I'm decent at composition too. But I've always felt a kinship with the guitar, and it just so happens my husband got a free guitar from work that they were going to throw out, that my dad got fixed up cheap, that sounds amazing, that was actually a $700 guitar when it came out in the 70's... And its the perfect size for me. And there's my ukulele which I love, which I want to get in tenor too, and even a banjolele if I can find one for a good price.

But then there's the CELLO, which I did play for four years in school, and even though I rarely play now I'm still okay, and it is still THE GREATEST INSTRUMENT OF ALL TIME in my humble opinion. (I also read a book recently where the MC was a cellist and I was so jealous of her fictional life because she had kept playing...)

I don't know I don't know...

This is the story of my life, of course. I have big broad interests that I can't choose my favorites from. It's why I still haven't begun to learn a second language, and why I haven't devoted nearly enough time to my pursuit if visual arts. (I <3 photography, painting, sculpture, drawing, making movies and animations... Eventually I WILL be sectioning off some part of my office for animating purposes!)

I realize that I've entered a phase of my creative recovery that is like a dam opening too much too fast. I need to focus, let the energy flow instead of flood. But it's hard! There is so much I want to do! Not to mention the ideas I have for my house, inside and out.

These are good problems to have though, so I will stop complaining now ;D

Also, jfyi, we will have our internet hooked up this weekend! So I will be back online and able to read AND comment on you entries again! Reading is easy on my phone, but commenting takes way too long, and is very unreliable. So I apologize for my lack of responseyness!

Posted via LjBeetle
lathriel: (desert)
I know I have a lot to do today, but it's vastly creative and important and this is creative but unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) and I need to flow some of this creativity out before it devours me whole.

It's the end of summer, and I'm beginning to relax my tenacious grip on the season and allow, if not welcome, autumn. It's not that I don't love autumn- I do. It's just that, when you live in an area that can be frigid for six months out of the year, you really count on a hot, if not long, summer to warm you up between winters. This summer failed at that. We had a couple of short heat waves, but when it wasn't blisteringly hot (perhaps 5% of the time) it was usually overcast and raining.

Anyway, fall seems to be coming early, and for the longest time I resisted it, still bitter about not having gotten to enjoy a real summer. But I can feel it now, in my gut, and there's no denying that fall is here. The lush greens of deep summer have turned sharp and ancient, and bare branches confront me wherever I go. The apartment is cool in the morning, cool enough to wear a sweater sometimes, or debate closing the windows. Rich browns, deep purples, earthy oranges and red and green all call to me when my eyes graze the streets outside, or the shelves of a store, or the drawers of my wardrobe. It's like an instinct, a natural rhythm of being; of course I'll wear more purple and orange without meaning to; of course I've begun to put a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg in my coffee without thinking about it; of course I found the indian corn in my closet and decided it would look good on my altar/wine rack. It's all very "duh." Easy. Like, well, coming home, to be cliche.

And the energy... good lords and ladies, the energy that is all around me, creativity flowing through my veins, lancing through my heart and my brain... it comes to me like a storm, and within me transmutes into strange projections, nets and tentacles that lash about nearly everything my attention falls upon, so that my eyes can see more clearly "Oh, well that would make a great story!" Hell, half the time I just look at something- the way a fragment of light comes through the window and spills distorted across the wall, or the strange play of shadow amongst the boughs of a tree, or the quality of sunlight and how it's new angle of projection makes everything so much more golden than at any other time of year... I just look at these things and I fall in love.

There are a million and one things I need to get done. Many of them are creative, many of them are not, all of them have been put aside because, frankly, I was overwhelmed with the creativity for a while. I had so much coming to me and not enough coming out of me that I was drunk on ideas. I still am, in a way, though I'm trying to adjust the pressure by relieving myself, slowly, of some of the older ideas.

A 'to do' list )

I am endlessly grateful for all these ideas and opportunities. I'd rather be awash in a sea of creativity than many other places. My goal, now, is to harness this power and not let it overwhelm me as it has been. I need to take care of myself, too- lack of sleep thwarted me yesterday and I was unable to finish a project I'd set out to do. Energy has always been a concern of mine, and I don't intend to fall behind again because I can't keep my eyes open. So, today, I'm going to work on my professional projects first (synposis etc.), TPaL second, and then I'm taking a break to sit down and make a few lists of what I can do to help me be more productive and less exhausted.

Besides, I really only need to just pass all of my classes this semester in order to graduate...
lathriel: (Default)
I'm into finding free ways to advertise lately. Putting yourself out there is the most important step in making the right connections that will get you an audience/agent/publishing contract. So, I apologize if it gets repetitive, but you will occasionally see entries here from me asking you to do me a favor...

I made a fan page for Web Serials on facebook, admittedly with the intention of promoting the web serials of my friends and myself... and any other related sites people happen to post there. I'd love it if you'd fan the page, and possibly suggest it to any of your friends who you think might be interested :)

Also, I've thought about making a video trailer for TPaL... I hope I have a lot of freedom in my advanced editing class this semester, cause that would be a sweet way to viral market. And fun to make!

Anyway... I've been feeling this "sweet spot" Uncle Rob mentioned in my horoscope last week. Only, I feel like it's more of a flood of creativity than a flow. I have so many ideas popping into my brain, and so many things I'm excited about, that I'm finding it hard to focus. My goal was to finish TPaL (in .doc format) by the end of August, but with less than a week left, I don't know if that's going to happen. I'm overwhelmed by my own creativity right now; sitting down and working on one project only is a kind of torture, but working on several at a time produces less satisfying results.

I need to play. The Hierophant, as I've mentioned before, was never intended to be any good. It was written for fun. And it ended up being one of the best things I've ever written. Its sequel, The Tower, is not coming quite as smoothly, because I have so much invested in the trilogy at this point. I need to find that place again- stress-free, worry-free, no-pressure writing. TPaL started out that way, but as I've fallen more deeply in love with the story and characters, I can't stand the thought of hurting them by producing a mediocre chapter by accident.

I think this is why I've been writing poems lately (I don't, as a general rule, write any poetry at all). And why a million and one bits of inspiration have been coming to me, for stories I've yet to write. I do need to play, but I cannot use that as an excuse to stall on my current projects. I'm a writer, through easy times and hard times. I love my babies, and I refuse to prevent them from growing up simply because I can't stand to see them flawed. It's like my tattoo artist said the other day: sometimes you see a child, and they're so beautiful, and their skin is so young and perfect, and you never want them to get a tattoo even though tattoos are a perfectly acceptable thing in your world. But some day they will grow up and decide for themselves what to do with their skin, and you will find out that they are perfect in your eyes because you love them, no matter what their skin looks like. Flaws, even, can add more beauty- more life- to a face.

I need to look at some of that macro portrait photography where every pore and hair follicle and flaw is visible...
lathriel: (lovely)
(The subject is a line of dialogue from my NaNo: Tristan to Zelda. :D)

I didn't write yesterday, but that's okay because I wrote over 10k on Saturday. And I am going to write like a demon tonight! Zelda's perspective is coming to an end I think, and I'd like to start Tristan's by the end of the night. Yay for avoiding writing awkward sex scenes!

I have a few ideas for short videos I want to make now that I have my camera back in working order. It's a decent camera, not the best, but it will do for what I have in mind: some pixelation; maybe an object animation or two; possibly a "holiday" short. I'm gonna get my hands on the student version of iStopmotion express and have a ball this winter on my almost 2 month break (Brookes doesn't start till January 29! Though, I hope the group flight leaves at the beginning of that week so we have time to settle in... in OXFORD XD). A new computer is in negotiations with my parents and my next three or four birthdays, so that means I'll actually be able to run Final Cut and iStopmotion- huzzah!

Um, what else. Oh, I submitted a short story to the Writer's Digest SS contest this morning, for the hell of it. It's not technically fiction, it's about the moment I realized my cat was dead forever. 401 words. Yay?

That's all for today.

Oh, yeah, if there is anyone who is good with dreamweaver, I can't for the life of me remember how to upload things to servers or whatever... help?
lathriel: (velveteen)
I am going to make 25 either today or tomorrow morning. My new goal is not to hit 50k by the end of the month (because I'm fairly certain I will, no problem, by the end of week 2) but to finish the entire draft. I write long stories- not short; not novellas; long. Two of the three novels I've written, 50k would only be slightly more than a third of the way through. I don't see this one going quite that long, but still. If I can finish the draft by the end of the month, I will consider myself a winner this year for NaNoWriMo.

Now, before any of you get the classic November "I hate you, but not really" response going, just remember that I have been consciously working (very hard, might I add) at unblocking myself as an artist, specifically as a writer, for over four years now. I went through hell and back to get to the point I'm at now, where words are flowing fairly steadily, and with enough confidence to keep me from going back and deleting them all. And I still get stuck- I still doubt my ability. But I persevere, because I know that artists- writers especially- are absolutely insane, and have no grip on reality when it comes to their own work and how good it is.


Every moment I find myself in the middle of spilling words onto a page, happily or not, I am more grateful than you can imagine to be caught in that flow. I am grateful for NaNoWriMo, for The Artist's Way, for Sacred Thursdays, and for every kind word you have all said about my work. And I think, really, that is the key- that is why I have been so happy these past 3+ months, and so able to confront my writing: because I am literally living a life of gratitude, and through that perspective, everything looks a little bit (or a lot) like magic.

Thanks. :)
lathriel: (desert)
I have so many ideas in my head and can't accomplish them fast enough. Video ideas- animation ideas- story ideas- LIFE ideas... And why can't I accomplish them fast enough? Vitamin D, my friends. The hours grow short, and the temperature is dropping, and I am already feeling the effects. My energy levels have plummeted in the past week. But that shall not stop me.

Vitamin D supplements. Yoga. Hell, I'll tan if I have to (they have booths that don't actually give you a tan, just heliotherapy). I'm not gonna let myself get rocked by the seasons again. There is much to do and to be done...

It was a slow, cold, yet productive weekend nonetheless. Aaron was home for a wedding, so Ive spent a lot of time with the fam. My set for my object animation did not turn out as awesomely as I imagined, but it's still pretty good. Now I just need to figure out how to animate snow falling. How do I get fake snowflakes to suspend themselves in mid-air so that I can take hundreds of pictures of them? I finally got a few replies from agents (all gentle let-downs) so I printed up more submission packages today that I'll be sending out shortly. Yay for! My book is already out of agents that accept science fiction.

On a non-productive note, I bought sexy boots today }:> I also purchased a rubik's cube and I am determined to master it. I've solved it twice already (with instructions).

To do this week, in semi-chronological order:

-finish set for object animation
-(midterm exam)
-get letters of recommendation from two professors
-apply to the Brockport study abroad program
-make the object animation
-NaNo ML meeting
-make up for the week of not writing in my YA novel
-get my new website online
-make extra arms for my Halloween costume
-flier the CFA and Hertel Ave. for NaNoWriMo

This is all very do-able. I'd like to say "write those short stories that have been nagging at you" (yes, I asked, and the Universe delivered!) but I know that's a dangerous road to take- who knows if I'll be able to find my way back to the YA novel? I need to finish that draft before NaNoWriMo, no ifs ands or buts. Butts. Heheh.

GOD life is awesome sometimes.


lathriel: (Default)
Maddie Lion

April 2017

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