Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “writing inspiration”

Putting Your Money Where Your Stupid Mouth Is

TODAY’S BREW: Still celebrating the 5 star review, so I think there may be a Cinnamon Dolce Latte in order.

By Julie

I’m a bit of a jerk, as you all may know. Kristen is a bit of a girl. When she acts like a girl, my jerk tells her so, and when I overstep my jerk bounds, her Feelings side bring me down to size.

I’m on Super High right now over Running Home’s cover, and the edits, and the fact….yes, FACT, that it will be available any moment now. Right, Roy? ANY MOMENT NOW. The book got a 5 star review from Opening Line Literary ‘Zine, and I have never felt like that in my life. The Harpy edits are still progressing, slower than I want, but I have to give my brain a little time occasionally.

Still got an idea for a book, though. Kristen made me say it out loud on Undead Duo Live on Monday night. No, I gave no details because I’m still rolling it over in my heart, feeling it out. But I have this thing, where if I come up with an idea for a book, I act on that bitch. Rarely do I put it aside. So I’ve come up with a bit of structure for it, and I’m feeling it. I am.

Leave it to Chynna Blue Scott, Jolene Haley and Josh Hewitt, incredibly supportive Twitter friends, to drag out of me what this idea is. I emailed them my thoughts, and they loved it. That got me excited AGAIN, and then, then I sent it to Kristen.

Her response was “I’m not into it.” She said it feels like it’s been done. She is going to hate me for this post, by the way.

I got immediately fucking pissed. We were sitting on the same couch when it happened, and we didn’t talk for an hour. We made up, we always do, and I could have not taken such offense, and she could have been more gentle. I’ve become so accustomed to positive encouragement, and haven’t had anyone tell me my idea sucked for a long time. And the high sank at the speed of….me running towards a pizza.

I thought what the fuck have we been preaching about vampires not being a done deal, and doing them in a unique way that nobody has seen before for? Why are we saying anything you write is worth writing because you created it and your idea is unique no matter what? What a bunch of bullshit, if at the end of the day the gut reaction isn’t “what kind of spin are you putting on this to make it yours?” This talk of having a voice that stands out in a saturated genre is just talk.

And then I got annoyed that I wasn’t standing behind my own convictions. Just because someone says it might not be the best thing they ever read, does not mean you buckle and move on. Write what you want to write, and damn writing for someone. I’m passionate about my work, and that is what will make it stand out. You can’t be passionate about something that you don’t stand behind. Of course I’m sensitive about people liking my work, I don’t care what anybody says, we all are. But after I get over the little tidal wave of criticism, I stand up and jump into the waves. Because fuck it, writer’s gonna write.

WRITE THE BOOK YOU HAVE TO WRITE OR EVERYTHING BREAKS.

This is my favorite quote, and it works in a couple of ways. Write what itches you, or you’re going to feel it forever, in a bad way that no amount of hydrocortisone can fix. But also, if you find you don’t have to write it, chalk it up to a cool idea for another time, and write the book that breathes fire into you.

I don’t know which one of these categories this book falls into. But if Kristen hadn’t challenged me on it, I wouldn’t have the urge to dig deeper into the roots of why I want to write it. That purpose in writing it, that is what makes a book a good one. That tangible emotion that sweats onto the page from an author who had to get the story out. Otherwise, a good idea is just a good idea, and not a living, breathing thing begging to be let out.

I still don’t know if this book needs to be written by me or not, but now I have the kick in the ass to find out.

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Why I Like To Not Like Some Stuff

TODAY’S BREW: Still working on this Walmart stuff. I think souls were ground up into it.

By Julie

 

Springtime is a beautiful thing, yes? Baby things, and stunning flowers that suck out my will to live with their pollen, and blazing fucking heat that drains my essence. Sweating for no reason with the promise of more sweat to come. This, right here, is the sun to me.

An evil, dreaded thing that plays nice by giving you the gift of tanktops, but only so it can burn you half to death.  It makes you feel like because “it’s nice out” that you have to go out and Do All The Things when I would really prefer to wear sweats and play inside with coffee and children.

Sun and springtime and summer especially tend to give me a momentary writer’s block. I lack in creativity. It’s hard to motivate myself to come up with something new. Until I remind myself every year that inspiration doesn’t just come in the form of beautiful things that we love.

It’s awesome to dislike stuff.

With a bit of mind training (insert hypno-eyes here), it is possible to create inspiration out of the things you dislike/loathe/despise. That little pic of the sun for instance. Describe what you don’t like about it. (This is quickly turning into an exercise you can do at home.) How does it make you feel? What colors would you call it? What kind of people would live under a sun like this? Would they be happy there, or oppressed? Would there be a hero there who loved rain, and exuded freshness of a spring shower? What does she do to save the people from the sun that threatened to eat them all alive?

Sure, this won’t turn into a novel for me, or anything but what it is right here, but it gets the mind to working. When you are uninspired, suffering depression, suffering in general, try to write down—on paper—what you don’t like about the feeling. One word answers, in the form of colors, or spirit animals, or terrible foods. I hate the feeling of staring at a plate of meatloaf. Unidentified meatstuffs made into something with no better title than “loaf” to be worthy of. Brown, lusterless, dry.  Now, try to make meatloaf (not Meatloaf, the bard) into a person. What would he look like? Dull, brown hair, coffee stained teeth, dead behind the eyes. What would he do for a living? Office work. Sad office work. What would he drive? Where would he live? What kind of things would he own, cherish, if anything?

NOW. Give this dull bastard a really cool trait. Something that is totally unexpected. He saves exotic reptiles from careless owners and nurses them to health. He has a photographic memory, but it only works with faces of the dead. He collects the teeth of sexual predators. He’s in love with his nurse neighbor who mercy kills old people at a local hospital.

Alternatively, having something you dislike often conjures up images of things you love and long for. This poor man may live in a colorless world of his own making because he’s obsessed with Christmas and can only be happy once a year. Now dig to the root of his problem by asking lots of questions. What in particular does he love about Christmas? The lights. What do the lights remind him of? Who does it remind him of being with? Where did they go?

Again, this is how you can turn those moments when you have nothing new going into something that gets your brain working. It may or may not become something huge for you. It may just join a pile of notebooks with half written descriptions in them. But it will be creative. The only way to be creative is to always push the creativity out. Look for inspiration in new things.

I once was stuck for new ideas, and realized I was going to the same places that I loved to write. I was wearing the same clothes I loved to write in. I was drinking the same coffee from the same place, reading the same kind of books. And it dawned on me.

How can I expect to create something new if I don’t surround myself with new things to drive me?

Put on a new shirt. Maybe you hate it, but how would you describe the way it makes you feel? It’s all training. All pushing limits, sometimes in the smallest ways you can imagine.

Now go outside and enjoy the heartless demon sun like you’re supposed to. I’m going to write about it.

What Twilight Means To Me: Sappiness With Julie

TODAY’S BREW:  Hazelnut. It’s snowing, so there will be a lot.

Countless times I have heard how this or that person read Twilight and said, “I can write better than that.”  And so, they tried, and hundreds of vampire books were born.  And for as many people who think they can write better than Stephanie Meyer, there are half as many who want to write the same exact book as she did.

It was February 2007 when I read Twilight.  It was days after I had my first baby, and I was wandering Walmart with my family, sleep-deprived and wildly happy.  Near the checkout counter, I realized I had nothing to read and grabbed a copy with a picture of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on the cover.   I was almost disgusted with myself that I was about to do something everyone did.  Read this novel that couldn’t possibly be good.

That February was very snowy, perfect for holing up with my new baby, both in our pajamas,  me drinking countless cups of decaf tea that did nothing for me.  And it was perfect for me to read that novel, with its overcast gloominess, discovery of so many new things, sparks of love that had never existed before. It was fresh, and made the ordinary extraordinary.  I still remember reading it, this baby that I was hopelessly attached to before I even technically knew I was pregnant sleeping in my arms, warm and cozy, bursting with happiness.  I remember driving him around to get him to nap, and pulling that novel out in random parking lots to read while he slept.  I remember it sitting on the table next to my husband and I in the middle of the night, when he would get up with me so I wouldn’t be exhausted alone.

Having my baby gave me a depth of emotion that I never knew was possible.  Reading Twilight when I was still in the thick of so much new emotion helped me love it, see it as a security blanket in this new world I lived in.  It comforted me with its simplicity when I was afraid, which happened often in those first few weeks.  I read all of the novels in succession, and couldn’t get enough.

It was for this reason, that I said, “I can do this.  I can create something both ordinary and extraordinary, exciting but everyday.  This is new territory that I want to stamp my feet on.”  I was floored by the power of creation, and ready to put feelings out in the open that I would never have allowed before.  It was the first time I had experienced really missing someone…that first night in the hospital when my baby had to be brought to Boston because he had been breach, and had trouble breathing.  To be so far from him, when I needed him so much was devastating.  Thank God he was brought back when I didn’t know if I could take it anymore.  This is a kind of loneliness that I had never experienced, and later was able to portray through Ellie’s agonizing departure from Nicholas that leaves her writhing in pain in her abandoned apartment.  I felt that every second.  The numbing fear that accompanies having children, and not being able to control every aspect of their safety, it helped fuel the love Ellie, Nicholas, Roman and Kat had for each other.  The otherworldly connection that Ellie has with Nicholas that doesn’t allow them to be apart is an extension of the arguably weird connection I have with my baby.  Reading Twilight at this time made me realize that I can open the door with these new emotions to create the novel I always wanted to write.  It would not have been possible before then.  I wasn’t strong enough.

I think I have read Twilight five times.  I read it when I am scared, when I am overwhelmed, and when I need something that I can’t put my finger on.  And I am brought back to this amazing time five years ago when I became a new person, and created a new person, and created Running Home.  Whether the timing was just right or not, reading that book gave me the idea of fate, perfect timing, all things happening to create a bigger picture, and for that I thank Stephenie Meyer endlessly.

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