Too Spoopy

Too Spoopy

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  • Tag Archives writing
  • Fuck You Pay Me Mentality

    It’s the new attitude I’m trying to adopt, in regards to my stories. In regards to the art that I spend hours laboring over.

    I’m not a very smart man. I think most of the important lessons I have to teach are simply from living through certain events, and forming an opinion based upon how it feels in retrospect.

    Let me tell you all a story. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English about ten years ago, with a minor in film. I’d dabbled off and on with short stories, and reviews in college. Primarily, I spent my time working on screenplays. I always assumed I would be a screenwriter, and then- well, then, nothing. I’ve always suffered from a lack of self esteem, and from feelings of inferiority. So, as is typical when it comes to my creative output, I never did anything with it.

    Anyway, cut to a few years out of college. I’d had a series of retail jobs, and one gig as an assistant teacher with autistic teens. And, spurred on by words of encouragement from my new girlfriend at the time (almost eight years with her soon, I love my woman) I started to work on short stories again. And I attempted to shop them around.

    Being the classic shoot off the email first, ask questions last type of man I am, my first attempts to sell short stories were doomed from the start because I didn’t bother to research the markets I was sending my stories too. And granted, a few might have fit, but the market was tough to get into, and I was brand new at the story game. But, admittedly, most of the stories I sent off just didn’t fit thematically with the markets I sent them too. The best example I have is that I sent an extreme horror story with graphic sexual content to an anthology to contain stories with monsters. See, just didn’t take the time to read up on the guidelines. That’s a great lesson kids: read the fucking guidelines before you send a story.

    So, I learned from that, and started trying to shop stories to the right markets; to openings where the stories would fit. And, somewhere along the line, I shopped a story to a place where the payment was a contributor’s copy. In essence, your payment is a physical copy of the book you’re in. And I got my first short story acceptance! And I was thrilled. The acceptance gave me the ego boost to continue to write stories, and shop them.

    And then, for the next seven years or so, I sold myself short. I submitted work to small presses, and magazines where I knew it would be easier to get in, because they weren’t paying me any money. And very rarely I’d go for a paying market, get shot down, and then go back to writing stories, and letting them be used in anthologies or web magazines for free.

    I’ve finally started to shop stories for paying markets again. And shocker: it’s tough to get people to pay you for your stories. But, I plan to keep shopping them.

    Don’t sell yourself short, like I did, and continue to do. Even if you were say, the worst cashier in the world, your employer would still pay you for your time at work. So, why is it any different for stories? Why is it that we allow magazines and short story anthologies to pay us nothing, and just blithely assume that it’s going to be good for us? Why do we work for hour after hour, and accept nothing for it?

    Because we are afraid we aren’t good enough to deserve money? I went to the RMV today. I had to renew my license. It took over an hour to talk to a lady, who asked me like two questions, took my picture, then sent me on my way. The RMV pays all of its employees, and they are slow as shit.

    There’s nothing wrong with accepting some kind of monetary compensation for your work, especially if the people you are giving it to plan to make a profit off of it. Complacency doesn’t mean a snowball in Hell if you don’t go anywhere because of it. Go get devastated for a while. It’s worth it, trust me.


  • Blog Tour Writing Process Horse Shit

    First and foremost, here is the link for this ol’ blog tour jazz. This is the person who nominated me for this. T.J. Tranchell, writer of Horror Warning Signs, and new cohost of There Are Other Worlds Than These.

    Link over here!

    So, I was asked by a fellow blogger T.J. to talk about my writing process for a blog tour thinga-ma-jig which I’m far too lazy to read the other posts in right now. Being the awful narcissist I am, I jumped at the chance to talk about my process, of creating shit none of you really rightly give a fuck about right now.

    Being ADD as all Hell, my first step is getting motivated to write. Soon after, I have to isolate myself, and give myself a good five minute warm up period, to get my brain in the right headspace. If it’s fiction, sometimes I need more than that. A post like this I don’t really care if it’s stylish, ya dig? This is closer to just having a conversation with someone. When you talk to someone at a BBQ, you rarely fret too much about the word choice, at least too much. But, when you’re writing something you want to make an impact, the nerves can get in the way. Hence, getting back to the point, it takes a little longer to get into “the zone.” So, most of the initial writing process is motivate, isolate, and then get the brain ready to create. I find some kind of background noise helps, but I can’t handle anything to thrashy initially. I can’t listen to screechy vocals for some reason when I try to write, and I can’t do rap music either. So, either something with no lyrics, or something with low key vocal styles. Right now I’m listening to the new Daman Albarn, called Everyday Robots. When I wrote my first book, a lot of it was to the Ravenous soundtrack. I realize that soundtrack is also partially produced by Daman Albarn (lead singer of Blur, guy from the Gorillaz) so maybe I should just stick to writing with Albarn stuff.

    My note process I’m still in the process of figuring out. Sometimes I go off of notebooks, sometimes text documents I save on my laptop. I usually have to write names down, those are the things I forget instantly. You must understand, I’ve probably written 30ish stories at this point, and many of them are in the short form. So, in my head, I remember the guy or girl, but especially if it isn’t a character from a novel, I might only discuss them for five to ten pages. It’s akin to remembering the name of a person you talk to a party one time, and then you meet them again, and have to remember what their name was. I’m awful with names, man.

    The writing rituals have become a lot healthier lately. Creating the first book most every writing sesh I’d smoke a bowl, then have a cup of coffee, then write. In college, writing the two scripts I crapped out, I chain-smoked cigs. A lot of writers turn to the hooch. I will admit to having written while drunk, and it is a lot easier, because your inhibitions are lowered. I believe it was Hemingway who said write drunk, edit sober. Well, I’m happy to report a cup of caffeine, or even just some gum can do it for me now. I find things I can repetitively do are good for writing. Chewing gum, eating pretzels or some other snack akin to it, where not too much is left on your hands. Being perfectly frank, I’ve been prescribed Adderall for my ADD since I was 12, and so if I really need to work on something, say to hit a deadline, I’ll take one or two of my little blue friends. But, I try to avoid prescription speed whenever possible; tt wreaks havoc on the bowels.

    The hardest part of writing for me is staying consistent, and continuing to plug away at projects. There’s a definite reason I have at least 30 short stories, and only one novel. A novel is a long commitment, and short stories come a lot easier. Much less of a commitment with a short story. A major problem is that I have three podcasts, this blog (which I never update, so it isn’t a problem) and Adventures in Poor Taste on my plate. So, again it comes down to motivation. There is no right answer as to what I should work on. All of the projects and sites I write for are rewarding in different ways, so I kind of just have to stick to one or the other for a certain period of time, then double back, so as to try and keep everything somewhat up to date. But, I make no bones about the fact with so much shit in the air, occasionally stuff gets left by the wayside for a while. My second novel, for instance (which might not even stay a second novel, we’ll see) is on the back burner, because I decided I finally wanted to write a comic script, and try to find an artist for it.

    The hardest part of the process is convincing myself it’s worth it. I know, I know, so many have the whole “if it isn’t fun, don’t do it,” line they spout off. Guess what? It’s not always going to be fun, even if you love writing today. Sometimes it is simply work, and you have to come to grips with that if you’re going to be a writer. But, take this silly blog. No one reads it anymore, and at this point I just view it as a domain I want to hold onto, which can work as an online writing resume. And, occasionally, it can also serve as a place to do fun stuff like this.

    I had a site drop me one time because an editor said I was rambling and incoherent. I sort of am, so not sure how I should end this post. I guess the main point I’m trying to get at is you do have to get into a routine, but most importantly, you have to get into a sort of hypnotic state. So, if you have anything you can do to ritualize the process, I think it helps you make it a routine. I was experimenting with a playlist per project, but I shitted out on that. Still, a steady stream of sounds you get used to, or snacks to snack on, Hell, even a place to go, which is only for writing and nothing else, these things help.


  • Writing, the Hard Days

    If you are a writer, chances are you’ve had bad days. You know, the days when every word is a struggle, and every sentence seems like a steaming pile of crap. I am having one of those days, today.
    Part of this is due to the fact that I’m writing my very first novel. I’ve never written one, so its all new to me. I hope the pacing on it is right, and that I’m sustaining the tension, but frankly, I won’t know if it works as a book until I’m done writing it. New things are often difficult, and scary. They are to me, at least.
    Yet, most of the trouble is just an inevitable part of the creative process. Some days will be better then others. And some days, if you’re anything like me, you’ll feel like a complete hack with a talent level somewhat below the authors you find in the five dollar bin at the bookstore. You know, the books they had to put on sale, because they’re that bad that no one will buy them at a suggested retail of more then the price of a medium sized whopper meal. Perhaps that isn’t the best analogy, considering the fact that some of those books might be good, they just haven’t had the proper advertising thrown out there for them.
    In any case, even though today is one of those days where its incredibly hard to write, I am going to write. Because writers write, and if I don’t write anything (other then this post), I will be a total hypocrite. Because I’m going to tell you the magical, mystical secret, that all productive writers know, and use to finish their novels. It is simply this; write no matter what. Write when you feel too tired, too lazy, or too dumb to be a writer. Because every day won’t be like pulling teeth, when you sit down with pen and paper, or take a seat in front of the keyboard. Some days, the words will come easy, and you’ll feel like a vernacular master, with a mastery of words.
    If you are really having a bitch of a time, simply start with one sentence. One sentence for a day isn’t great, but its better then no sentences. Maybe, the next day, you’ll be able to type up a half page, or even a full page. Right now, I try to do at least a page every weekday. I’ve given myself weekends off, at least for the time being. Time off from writing the novel, I should say. I’m sure I’ll post to this on weekend and week days alike.
    Until next time, make sure you locked all your windows. I know you don’t believe in aliens, but what was that flash of light you saw in the sky earlier? And what is that, walking, behind your place? Its certainly not human. Oh my lord, what the hell is that thing? Is it an animal? No, that’s no animal you’ve ever seen before. Can your sanity hold, after seeing a thing like that?