Rejection

Hello Dear Reader Friends.

As you know from a post last month, I’ve completed and am ready to share my latest book.  I’ve sent out my first batch of query letters to agents I love and the responses are starting to trickle in, all three rejections.  A very nice rejection, a form rejection, and a one liner.  Luckily (maybe), I’m immune to rejection.  Years of theatre will do that to you.  We get told ‘no’ on a daily basis, in varying brutal ways.

I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.  A book birthed out of the sudden death of a bestfriendparentbrother was doomed to be fucked up.  The style is not my usual, straight-forward romp, but I couldn’t help it.  The book wrote itself in a shockingly short amount of time.  I just went where it took me and so far so good.  I make everyone cry with it which is a weirdly god-like power, or at least I think so.  Now I just have to capture that elusive Agent Pokemon.  It should be noted I am the absolute worst at self promotion.  Crafting those letters is almost physically painful.  Yes, I know.  This is a subjective business.  Lots of people get rejections.  Most people won’t make it.  You can always self publish.  Yadda, yadda.

Moments like these make me lament my lack of normalcy and wish I could be happy writing romance novels for about a day before I remembered MIDNIGHT SHOW!  BOURNE! And let Jeremy Renner cure my ills.  Now I’m all better.  So here I am, back at square one, preparing to write yet another winding love story that will make the majority of people scratch their heads, I’m sure.

Should I try to ease people into my weirdness?  A gander at the tiny notebook that holds stray plot lines and future project ideas reveals pages and pages that are all skipping off into the badlands.  Coming Soon: schizophrenia, Stockholm Syndrome, and a graphic novel about Death who falls in love with a little girl.  What has happened to my brain?  Remember that Post-Apocalyptic YA I wrote (just like everyone else) that I shelved (and should probably get back to) until I could polish and make it stand out?  Only one person (that you care about) dies in that one.  Now my mind is full of monsters that eat babies and onanistic blood baths inside of stone people.  I blame video games.  Or Obama, maybe.  Wait, who are we fingering this week?

Anybody know an agent who actually wants weird stuff?  They all say they enjoy dark and strange but I need them to seriously want dark and strange.  Are you playing the agent game or are you a fan of the self publishing world?

The Crippling Fear of Living.

Life can make some dick moves, man.  You know this.  I know this.  It’s out there in our general consciousness.  There are thousands of trite little sayings about lemons or other bull shit like that.  And sometimes it can sneak up on you.

Today I realized this: I’m kind of pissed off at life for making me so interested in the arts.  There is literally nothing else I want to do more than be creative.  What is THAT about?  Hmm?  Why couldn’t I be passionate about real estate or construction or something remotely practical?  Instead I pick the career where ‘starving’ is most apt to be attached.

Maybe it’s because I just turned 25 and everyone and their dog is having babies and living life and, you know, not skipping along that razor’s edge called poverty for the umpteenth year in a row, but I’ve been getting more and more panicky about life.  People should tell camp fire stories about slowly dwindling bank accounts and student loans that make you weep like a little bitch more often than not because that’s where it’s at.  We used to have this grand fable tradition where we’d teach our kids to not disobey their parents or go out at night else the man-wolf/witch-hag/Crumple-horned Snorkack would surely devour them whole.

We need a new tradition.

Little Red Riding Hood, or the Girl Who Should Have Known Better.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who had the audacity to believe all the drivel the media fed her.  She though she was smart and super special and maybe she was, but not any more than the average human being because, let’s be honest, there are a lot of people out there.

One day, while skipping through the forest of higher education and dreaming of her happy future life full of reading and writing and frolicking and a definite lack of constant bank account crunching, she though it would be a good idea to crawl into bed with strangers because, come on, everyone was doing it.

 “My Fanny Mae, what big teeth interest rates you have.”  

“All the better to completely fuck up your life forever, my dear.”

“Sounds good to me!”

And she never had money, ever again.

The End.

Image

Yeah, That’s about right.

Ok, that was harsh.  But those few weeks before all the bills are due have become terrifying.  I’m waiting for the day when I really won’t make ends meet and the person who always filled in the non-meeting ends went a died on me (Thanks, life.), though obviously I miss him for more than his savior-like abilities.  So, I give in.  I lay on the couch and I shuffle through what I should have done with my life instead of this.  I ignore the fact most of the alternate careers I would be interested in would not help me fair much better (Theoretical Physics anyone?), but somehow, they’re raised up in my mind to mythic heights.  And I text one of my best Friends, Cleo, and we have conversations that go like this:

Me: I’m thinking very seriously about showering before Saturday.

Him: Yes!  Tell me why I’ve gone three days without one.  It’s the bane of my existence.  Too much work.

Me: It’s like a sickness.  I don’t know what my problem is.  It’s like each day rushes by, pointless and fruitless, all blending together, and if I shower it’s just one more way I’m measuring my wasted life.

Him: Oh fuck, we are on the same page.  It’s like you are preparing for something other than a mundane life.  Like today something will happen and I’ll be glad I showered.

Me: And when nothing happens it’s like I’ve wasted energy, time and money.

Him: Oh god.  Who are you?  We’re simpatico right now.

And then I start to feel a little better.  That I’m not the only one who got disillusioned on our path to artistry.    That I’m not alone.  That we’re all a little broken, but maybe if we hold on to each other and press close enough, we can smush everything back together.  So I decide to write a blog about it.  Because I love to write and because writing makes me feel good and because there is literally nothing I’d rather be doing.

Bookness Monster

Hello dear readers,

I went away for a very long time.  This is for a variety of reasons.  The last post I wrote had a grammatical error in it.  This caused me to Hulk the fuck out and delete it.  I was quite sure at that point blogs were super lame.  I think I was having a bad day.

Anywho, I wrote a book in the mean time!  Yay!  It’s very strange and will likely never see the popular light of day.  Normal people are boring.  I shall now put the first few pages below so you can see what I mean.  Also, if you’re an agent or a publisher, call me, maybe?

The Stone Wife

Cosmo waited three days before he finally climbed inside his stone wife.  He noticed a crack earlier in the week while she showered, but he turned away, a little embarrassed and dizzy, maybe.  He wasn’t sure.  Anyhow, it hadn’t mattered until now.  Not until she went to bed and turned hard, like a living statue, a ton of cold rock he couldn’t ignore anymore.

When Cosmo put his mind to it, he could see the all sorts of symptoms.  She was speaking less and less, her skin was stretched taut, ashen and unattractive, and she was eyeing pigeons with an unduly amount of suspicion.  There was a chance he imagined that last one, but the odd crevice was definitely real.

He had tried to block the yawning space from his mind but was unsuccessful.  It would creep into his consciousness and his dreams, or more outright when her shirt would rise or she would bump into furniture with a hollow THWACK!  Cosmo tried to make himself more useful: reaching for items on the high shelf to keep her clothes in place, padding corners and doorways, those sorts of things.  He didn’t think it would be polite to bring up her changing state.  Women could be so sensitive.

So Cosmo and his wife carried on as if nothing had happened.  Cosmo liked that.  It made sense to him.  And because of that, he couldn’t understand why she now seemed to be breaking their unspoken agreement.  Turning to stone hardly seemed like maintaining the status quo.  He kept expecting her to snap out of it.  Maybe she just needed a good night’s sleep or some time to herself or something, and soon, she’d come back to herself.

As the first day pressed on, Cosmo pretended all was well, going about his normal routine.  That night, after he returned from work, he leaned around the corner and peered into the bedroom to see if she had moved, but she hadn’t.  He couldn’t bring himself to sleep next to her, and besides, they had an exceedingly comfortable couch.

On the second day, he managed to walk into the room.  He made loud noises.  He slammed drawers and kicked around the hamper and coughed louder than usual, but nothing worked.  He fell asleep between the vanity and the wall while he watched the hard curves of his wife’s face grow harder.

When morning came, Cosmo didn’t want to pretend anymore.  He started to throw things at her.  Small things like pen caps and shoelaces and crumpled bits of paper.  The third night approached and the items grew.  Shoes, empty glasses, full glasses, and a lampshade were all to no avail.  This was ridiculous.

He stared at his wife, frozen in the fetal position, and he finally knew what he needed to do.  Well, not specifically.  But he knew something needed to happen.  The gap in her side had grown these last few days.  Where it used to stretch from hip to breast, it now travelled armpit to knee.  This worried Cosmo.  He wasn’t sure he could make her real again, let alone piece her back together if she split all the way through.

Cosmo took a deep breath and clenched his jaw to bolster his determination.  This has gone on long enough, he thought heroically.  If she can’t conquer her problem, he would.  He would go in, once and for all.  Yes, indeed.  He would be the one to fix it.  He was a man.

Even with all his bluster he couldn’t make himself sit down next to her.  He tentatively reached his hand to her shoulder and squeezed.  It was cold and didn’t give, not even a little.  He wrenched his fingers away and suppressed the urge to vomit.  What happened to his beautiful Grace?

“Grace,” he whispered to himself, holding her name on his tongue like glass.  His beautiful Grace.  He ran his hand along her ribs.  It felt different.  It wasn’t the same as her icy shoulder.  Something was wrong, or something had gone wrong.  He had to go inside.  She needed him, he knew it.  “Grace,” he whispered again as he settled himself next to her ruined side.

Cosmo pushed his fingers around the edges of her break trying to feel how fragile she was or how pliable she could be.  This was a first for him and he was very unsure of how to proceed.

He was palm deep before he asked himself if maybe it would be better to go foot first, like maybe he’d need his legs out first to steady himself, but it was too late anyhow, he’d gone this far and besides, he thought, leaving a girl couldn’t be too dissimilar from crawling back in and once inside, up and down would be pretty relative.  Or at least he thought.  None of it made much sense, you can’t blame him for trying to find some reason in it.

So Cosmo pushed on and his wife didn’t feel so much like marble or maybe his bones didn’t feel much like bones anymore.  More like clay.  And the further he wriggled, the easier it was until he all but oozed over the last of the bed sheets and slid down the inside of his wife, sealing up the crack behind him.

Pulling himself back together was a peculiar feeling, and Cosmo was no artist but he managed ok.  It could have been his own skewed perception of self, but he seemed more or less human again, more or less Cosmo again.

He looked up to see where he’d fallen from, or dripped from depending on how you look at it.  He was concerned to see no clear way out and that the entrance was plugged.  But maybe that was a good thing.  It wasn’t much, he amended, as he looked around the dark, moist cavernous place he’d landed.  There was still a great big room to fill.  He didn’t think someone should be so hollow as Grace seemed to be and figured that was probably why she’d cracked open in the first place.

Cosmo hadn’t planned much further than this, which is perfectly natural since one doesn’t usually have a partner-turned-into-stone contingency.  He wondered exactly where he was because it didn’t look how he thought it would.  The ceilings were too high and too heavy; it was all so fragile looking. He didn’t know how it stayed up.  Spindly rocks stretched down to join columns rising from the floor, like mating stalactites and stalagmites, but the rock was needle thin where they met.  The whole scene was dark and alien, like the set from a cheap movie.  Everything was almost real, but something made it fall short.  It was too delicate, shimmering like spun sugar, carefully crafted for effect, reflecting an unnatural glow from some invisible source. The floors were seamless, smooth, rising and falling in gentle waves, and Cosmo would have thought they were sand dunes if he couldn’t feel them and know they were rock.

There was no clear path either, only hills and slopes and smaller alcoves and bigger tunnels stretching into more darkness.  Cosmo started to panic a little, and his chest felt heavy.  He couldn’t remember why he’d thought this was going to be a good idea, just that he’d been at a dead end and he so desperately wanted to be doing something.  He needed action.  He looked around once more and decided to follow the slope downward, partly because it was easier and partly because going up into the dark tunnels made his heart beat strangely.  And this place was so big and Grace so small, surely there couldn’t be much more to it.  Surely he would walk down this hill and around the wall and there he would find the source of all this strangeness.  What, he wasn’t sure, but he’d recognize it when he saw it.  Cosmo has been in love with Grace since he was seven years old.  He’d know what didn’t belong.  He’d fix what was broken.

Ta-dah!  First three pages.

This blog was brought to you by an excessive amount of boredom and a momentary creative desires.  Enjoy!

Questions?  Drop us a line!  sociableink@gmail.com

Also:  All this shit is copyright, yo.

Is there anything James Franco isn’t in? (or a musing on book trailers)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but apparently writing isn’t what it takes to be a writer.  You need platforms.  You  need a facebook and a twitter and a blog and you have to pretend to like people now.  Which is unfortunate because half the reason I love writing is I don’t have to talk to anyone else all damn day if I don’t want to.  You can be a recluse and no one will fault you for it.  But not any more.  You  need a following before you publish (You all are my following by the way, small though it may be, and I love you for it).  Writers are part of the celebrity culture, especially considering half the books published are written by “celebrities” who I know next to nothing about.  I haven’t had cable for a long time now.  I missed the reality TV bus.  Covers of magazines confuse me. (Wait, is her legal name J-wow?)  One nice thing to come out of these blurring lines though are book trailers. 

For those of you who don’t waste your mind away watching pointless internet video after pointless internet video, a book trailer is exacty what it sounds like: an ad for a book.  Though they’ve been around for almost ten years (if Wikipedia is to be trusted), I never really noticed them until a few years ago.  It makes sense as a natural progression of the increasingly digital world, but it never occurred to me until I saw the first one and thought, “Duh.”

Turns out this is a cost that many publishers aren’t interested in covering unless the book is a sure thing at which point do we really need a trailer?  Author Myrlin A. Hermes guest blogged about how to make your own trailer to combat that very issue.  Could be nice for a few of you who are self-published (which I’d definitely help you with).

A few trailers that have stuck in my brain…

A hilarious author-centric video that has nothing to do with the book (but has lots of cameos, including James Franco):

A FANTASTIC clip in general which won the “What are we doing to our children” Moby award:

An arty, Young Adult trailer with good music and a nice level of tease:

Feel free to share other book trailers with you find in the comments.  I’m slightly obsessed at the moment.

Hello, My Name is…

Prepare to die.

Names are a funny thing.  They can say a lot about a character before you ever get to know them and can be one of the more challenging aspects of telling a story.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a generic book or seen a generic movie and couldn’t tell you the names of the main characters to save my life. And I’m obsessed with names!  When I’m writing, even if it’s a short paragraph inspired by a fellow coffee shop patron two tables over, I have to have a name.  And more importantly, I have to have a reason for that name.  I have a hard time categorizing what it is that makes something a “good” name and that’s where you come in, reader.  Work through this with me.

One naming style I admire is J.K. Rowling’s, and in my oh-so-humble opinion, J.K. Rowling is a God.  No seriously.  Have you visited the list of Harry Potter characters on wikipedia?  There are well over 600 with first and last names, not even counting the ones with no known surnames.  Some, like the vampire Blodwyn Bludd, are a little on the nose but still.  This is a peripheral character mentioned less than handful of times.  Even if you’ve never read the books, these are the sort of names you see and get a sense of the character almost instantly.  Test:  Alecto Carrow, Eloise Midgen, and Felix Summerbee.  One of these character invented a “cheering charm,”  one of these characters is a rat bastard Death Eater, and one is a random student with acne.  None are mentioned excessively, but I’m relatively you could match up those descriptions by the sounds of the name.  I could wax poetic about Harry Potter all day.  Moving on.

While Rowling manages to make ridiculous names sound plausible, I’ve rarely seen other examples of name-describe-character that didn’t feel heavy handed.  This brings me to a second and far more ambiguous naming-style: names that just fit.  I think it’s probably more of a remark on good character building than naming.  We fall in love with their character and the name follows by default.  But what about perfect names on two-dimensional characters?  Think of that benchmark in cinematic film-making Point Break.  The main character, played deftly by Keanu Reeves, is a rough and tumble,

Johnnyutah.

Johnnyutah.

rookie FBI agent and former football star.  His name?  Johnny Utah.  HOW GREAT IS THAT!?  My friends and I tend to repeat that often, generally after something awesome happens.  You have to say it kinda like a douchebag and as one word: Johnnyutah.  When I think about it, in addition to having a superb name himself, Keanu is often given roles with awesome names.  Neo.  Johnny Mnemonic.  Don John.  Well, we can thank Shakespeare for that last one…

Smell my Scabical Punt? Isn't it sweet?

Maybe I just like names that flow, names where you want to say the first and last name.  It’s probably a combination.  I have names that translate to things in other languages, names that describe characters in a Rowling-esque fashion, I even have a character that was named after a good waiter I had the day I developed him.  Although now the name just fits.  🙂

How do you name characters?  I’m not (just) trolling for comments.  I’m quite interested.  I’m about to introduce a slew of here-to-fore unnamed characters in the second book of my series. Do you have any names you love, any Johnnyutah’s?

I leave you with this ridiculous Harry Potter name video, courtesy of Potter Puppet Pals.  I will have this song stuck in my head for the rest of my life.