Of Nerves, New Ideas, and Neopets

Currently listening to Lights, by Ellie Goulding

You know what’s seriously nerve-racking? The sudden realization that people are reading your writing. And not just people, but people. Strange people. People you’ve never met and will probably never meet.

This isn’t a new sensation for me; as some people might know, I’ve been involved off and on in role-playing on Tumblr*. And with that, every now and then you get a non-RPer who likes or reblogs one of your roleplay posts, or a drabble, or an in-character ask. Personally, I don’t have any issues with that–it’s great that people like the posts and it’s awesome that they express it! But sometimes there’s a moment of “Oh my God someone is actually reading this. Who are they? Why are they reading it? Do they really like it? How often are they reading it?”. I mean, it’s writing that you’ve put out in public, so it’s reasonable that other people might stumble onto it and read it, but seeing actual evidence that that hypothetical audience exists tends to give me a moment of…well, it’s not quite panic, but…it kind of is. Maybe a flash of crippling insecurity before O get over it and go on with my day.

I get a similar feeling when it comes to people reading my other writing–my book, my short stories…You see, I’ve been seeing some Kindle sales of Songstruck recently that I know don’t belong to anyone I know. That’s great! It’s what I want–what any author wants! It’s still a little unsettling, though, and there’s still that moment of fright because people are reading things I wrote. It’s not like a roleplay where there’s at least one other writing partner spinning stories with me and we’ve got a shared responsibility for the content that people are reading; my book is just me. I’m a little more exposed than I’m used to, so it always takes a few moments longer for me to shake off the strange realization that people are actually reading my work. And I’ve been even more surprised to see that people have been pretty steadily reading my stories on QuarterReads.com. Those are just short stories that I’ve scrawled in my spare time or when I needed to take a break from other writing, and people are reading them, too. Hopefully, they’re even liking them. But it’s still intensely weird for me sometimes to see such crystal-clear evidence of their presence.

What else was I going to write about today? Oh, right. New ideas. One of my biggest problems has always been sticking with a writing idea and following through with it. Despite that, I’ve been managing to pretty steadily work on Stagestruck and I’m fairly pleased with how it’s going even though I still need to go back and fix those chunks at the beginning. But I’ve also got a few ideas for an Alice in Wonderland-inspired piece bouncing around in my head. I’ve already got drafts of three different possible Wonderlandish stories that I’ve tinkered with over the past year or so, but last night a series of characters came to mind. I had to open up Storyist to make pages for them, and I even found some images that just screamed those characters. So now I want to explore those characters and nail down a story for them. I’m trying to resist the urge. For now, at least, so that I can keep up the progress on Stagestruck

But maybe if I just write a short story about them for now…


*I feel like it would be disingenuous if I didn’t admit that I got my start with roleplaying as an 11-year-old on Neopets.com. I still have one of my accounts there, too, even if I haven’t logged on in ages**, and I still mourn the loss of my oldest account which I lost the password for years ago and must have been purged from the system. Medieval-world-inspired RPs were my thing. And more often than not, I wrote some kind of thief or mage. Go figure.

**That’s a lie. I logged in today, because this post made me think about it. And I’ve got a Halloween Lupe, a Zombie Peophin, a Mutant Jetsam and a dorky Electric Lenny because the Lab Ray never gave me anything cool. Jealous? 😛


Of Bibliogenesis and Broken Links

Currently listening to the Penny Dreadful soundtrack

Bibliogenesis. A fun word that means something very simple: the creation of a book. That could refer to the book’s production (publishing) or the act of stringing the words together on the page in the first place. So all of you who have written a book, published it, or have started the long process of putting words down in a manuscript? You have all taken part in the process of bibliogenesis. Some of us are further along than others, but we’re all doing it. Writing. Working on turning the stories that clang around inside our heads into books.

I’m still working on the sequel to Songstruck, but it’s admittedly slow progress. Part of that is because I know in the back of my mind that I need to do some serious editing to the beginning. I want to go back and do that, but I’m trying not to go back and edit so early on. Usually, I’m editing every page and paragraph multiple times as I write. It makes for some agonizing evenings of editing/writing. This time around, though, what I really want to do is get all the words down first. Then I can go back and change things or overhaul sections. I’ve marked things that might lead to continuity errors later on if I make the changes I think I’ll make, but that’s as much as I’ll do right now. Unfortunately, kicking old habits is hard, so I keep itching to go back. That ultimately leads to slower progress anyway, because it’s very hard to write new material when the thought “I need to go and fix that” keeps cycling through my head. But I’m still trying to stick with my new process.

Also, I’ve noticed that a few links around the site are a little funny. I’ve changed the URLs of destination pages and things like that, I think. That means that there are a few broken links hanging around. I’ll be fixing that today, but if you run into any broken links, please let me know!


Of Stories and Scents

Currently listening to The Carnival by Amanda Jenssen First, an announcement. I have a new short story up on QuarterReads. It’s called “A Divine Wager”, and it’s found here. Remember, you can now “favorite” writers on the site, which means you’ll be notified when they publish new stories. And every week, there’s a free story. This week, it’s Natalia Theodoridou’s “We Call Her Mama”. The rest of this post is just a little bit of nonsense, and I’ll elaborate later. But for me–and for many others–scents can be very evocative. Maybe you always associate the smell of baking cookies with your grandmother, or lavender reminds you of the candles your aunt always had burning in the house. I love perfume, and one of my favorite places to get perfume is Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Which means I love being able to get various scents from them. Right now, my favorite is probably Pink Snowballs, which is an older scent–one that’s been released a few times as part of Yule collections (yes, BPAL has all kinds of collections, including limited edition releases for holidays). It’s a sweet, soft vanilla rose. But there are other scents, too. A whole line, for example, of scents based on the movie Only Lovers Left Alive. I have one of them, Quintessence of Dust. What does it smell like, you ask? Well, here’s the scent description: “The passing: beeswax and smoke, yellowed paper and well-worn leather books, droplets of spilled ink, faded incense, blood-tinged salty tears, and the metal of the knife that skewers that illiterate zombie philistine’s portrait.” And…that’s really kind of what it smells like. The scent descriptions are all fascinating, and many of them are impressive works of writing. Most of the scents are designed to be very evocative, and more than once, I’ve found myself applying a blend that helps put me in the mindset of a particular character, or something that strikes me as “fitting” for the scene I’m working on. ~Sofia