Spring Flowers Of My Truth

I’m writing this article today because of this YouTube video: The Case For Fan Fiction

Since there are more authors coming forward in telling their reader base: ‘Yeah, I wrote fan fiction and it helped me learn how to write better.’…I feel strong enough mentally now to come forward to tell my piece. To allow my spring flowers to come up from the earth to see the light of day.

Fan fiction to me is an outlet to help jump start or a warming up period to writing something original. To get that feeling of the pen between my fingers. To feel the pen moving across the paper as words drip onto the page one by one. To make limber my fingers at the keyboard to type as smoothly or as awkwardly as possible. (With the joy in knowing the spell checker will always be there)

Writing fan fiction is a glorious way to practice, not just in the basic structure of sentences and word usage, but in the process that little is talked about – practice in remembering a whole story and the character(s) formations within. It takes a lot of work to flush out a whole story even if its based on someone else’s previous or current prose. Sometimes, but most often, getting your mind to wrap around the complexity of character development, plot and subplot structure and basic other story beats, there is a lot to hold onto. Writing fan fiction in the character types you loved such as, for example of my own works: 1980s My Little Pony, Dragonball Z and New Kids On The Block (Real Person Fiction), helped me understand the complexities of juggling all of these critical writing structure needs.

Learning what I watched and read of the above examples of cartoon, anime and real life people that I aspired to, I was able to flesh out fairly well constructed original stories. All the while keeping in mind the basic principals of what made those cartoon fictions and real life people who they are and what they became. Coming up with original characters is hard work, but there are times that writing fan fiction helps you understand the structure of a character(s). Fan fiction is just that important to us writers.

Now, here it is, more and more professional authors are coming out expressing that they got their start by writing fan fiction when they were teenagers. All of us writers also got our basic start in English classes and Creative Writing classes all throughout our early school years, some as far as college. However, when in between writing class assignments, spring break and summer break, what do we do? We write fan fiction to keep our skill in top shape. We keep writing no matter the subject manner as long as it is something we love and can mold to our own enjoyment.

As for my own fan fiction, I have a few, but two of them that I posted live, are made with a twist. My Fan Fiction (Mythian)  “The Island“, it all came from dreams that I put together. I would wake up from the dream with a ‘…To Be Continued’ nearly each morning. I would pick up right where I left off in the dream. Finding at least thirty dreams that made up the whole of The Island, I didn’t start writing it down until 2005. The dream had kept itself hold up for so long, that I’m surprised I remembered it so perfectly to be written the way it was.

The Nightmare” worked the same way. Dreamed it constantly every few days for a while year. Psychologically I was trying to come to terms if being a New Kids fan was worth my time and effort. Later, wrote it down completely in 2005 or so to keep a record of its originality. Years later, I placed this into my third Soul’s Little Lie novel, but shortened it to fit my needs for that collection of characters.

On their own, The Island and The Nightmare would never do well by themselves. The way my mind constructed these dreams the only smart place for them was to weave them into my current novels. As for the My Little Pony and DragonBall Z fan fiction, they will stay right where they are and will never be changed to suit my original works. They were for warm up and practice and I love the time I put into them.

The importance of fan fiction writing can take you farther than you realize. The trick is, how do you weave your dreams into something original that will help you grow to go farther as a writer? That’s totally up to you.

Humble Before My Creation

There is something I came to understand when I was seventeen. Something that myself as an artist and possible many other artists out there, came to understand about their creative works.

This world is full of stories. The world thrives on stories of all kinds – may the stories be of gossip, news of the day by the strumming bard’s lute and song, or by stories to teach from teacher to student. A whole countless collection of fictions and real life tales of days gone by.

Each of these stories, told by many over the centuries, may take on a unique quality of existence. A life of their own far away into the universe. In an alternate universe maybe, just maybe, the stories we create to share with one another, the storyteller’s world becomes flesh; real with time in an alternate universe and world.

If this be true, the storyteller would never know of their creation being flesh. The physics of our world forbids us passage to such worlds, at least for now. The only way close enough for the storyteller to touch their creation is through television shows and movies and plays on a stage.

This is where the storyteller who created their fictional world cries; weeps for joy seeing their world made flesh. A happiness that no other artist, save for the team that helps put the fictional world into flesh, could understand what that feels like inside the heart.

Having come to realize this so long ago and revisiting it now, knowing the hard work it takes to edit a manuscript to full polished beauty for agents and publishers, I feel humble and grounded. With the hope of a final product waiting in the wings of my mind and on the page…I am more humble before my creation than ever for whatever it may become.

Acknowledge & Ignore Procrastination

I got the idea for this article of my procrastination process to work for me by listening to  The Writer Files Podcast – titled The Writer’s Brain on Procrastination Part One and Two. I had realized something about the information Kelton Reid and his guests had not quite expressed. This reminded me of what I’ve done most of my life while working on my novels Soul’s Little Lie. I thought, maybe someone might find this list useful.

Don’t get me wrong, Kelton Reid’s podcast on procrastination was helpful as a simple review for myself in which I had previously studied for the past few years. Its good to be reminded of the process of procrastination and now here’s how you can use procrastination to your benefit.

I know what procrastination is and I ignore its existence. This is how I transform the potential for procrastination into working for me.

  1. Ignoring the mental aspect – I see that I am ignoring the writing work in front of me, but I also see that it is a perfect time to breath and rest. Acknowledging that this is only a momentary time of resting my mind, allows my mind to go idle so not to stress myself into over thinking the work ahead or in front of me in that moment. – Take some time for yourself to get up from the computer, typewriter or collection of notes of your prose or article. Just as much as your body needs to stretch from sitting so long, so does your brain.
  2. Not binge watching tv shows – When there is a massive writing project that must get done and I acknowledge the possibility of procrastination that may come about, I don’t give into binge watching tv shows. If I do allow myself to take thirty minutes to three hours or more of time to binge tv shows, this opens up a plethora of creative problems. The tv show stories invade my mind to hijack my already incubating prose. I then find myself thinking of the visual and audio ques of that show feeding into more procrastination. – Once I’ve found myself not watching tv shows for weeks on end (not feeding into procrastination) my prose flow smoother and the chapters start coming along with ease. Even my note taking is fuller for that future chapter. Also, my editing sessions are finished up that much quicker.
  3. Writing Walkies – It takes me thirty minutes to an hour to walk from my house into town and through town. I’ll take these ‘Writing Walkies’ in the evening hours and be out there in the small town for an hour to four hours at a time. I’ll have my IPod with me to listen to my music that pertains to the manuscript project at hand or I won’t listen to the music, it all depends on how I want to think the current chapter or scene through. Writing Walkies may seem like procrastination, but it is more atune with making the brain go idle, to make it be at rest to allow intrusive thoughts to flow to the way side without full acknowledgement. – Once this has been achieved, of the scene flowing as I talk to myself (finding no traffic on the streets and hardly anyone outdoors at night) I’ll walk faster and feel an excitement in me to get back home to flesh out the scene notes by hand or type.
  4. Work Log – Sometimes I’ll look through my Work Log to see how far I’ve come in the progress of my manuscript. The Work Log is put into two visual places – a dry erase board calendar and a book planner calendar. I’ll do my work for a few hours, starting at 6pm (or a little later) up until 2am. On the dry erase board write down the book number, chapter number, sometimes even the amount of pages written or the time in which I’ve worked. Then I’ll transfer that log into the paper edition of the day planner in red pen. Sometimes adding side notes to what else I did in my writing or not writing. – Looking through my Work Logs for a few minutes every few days may seem like procrastination, but it is more akin to juicing myself up for the next day of work.
  5. ‘Soul Team’ Waiting – While I wait for any one of my ‘Soul Team’ in replying back to the pieces of material I sent them for edits or beta reading, I’ll just sit back and do other things. I’ll do basic chores around the house, which coincides with Cleaning Up The Stage process. I’ll do some reading to pick up where I left off, which usually I’ll read a chapter or two. I’ll even go about analyzing my Work Log or go over my notes. Sometimes, depending on the weather, I’ll do some Writing Walkies. To mix it up while I wait, I’ll play some video games and yes, I’ll watch YouTube videos in the morning but only about subjects I’m passionate about: sciences, psychology, nature, art, history or politics. Currently though, no working on artwork since my mind hasn’t flipped that switch cause of the manuscript being the main focus.
  6. Concept Illustrations – Some people would call this part a ‘side hustle’. My Concept Illustrations are far, far away from anything resembling a ‘side job that makes money’. It’s not even a ‘side project’ to me. Reason being – a small 5×7 or a large 24×18 watercolor or basic pencil and ink sketch for my novels is just for me to get a concept idea out of my head. A short fling to amuse my mind to take a break from writing. A healthy procrastination by far. However, if I’m working on my manuscripts heavily for weeks or months on end, Concept Illustration pieces don’t dare come up in my mind. I’ve even forced it, but that painter’s switch won’t click. That’s a good thing. Once my writing binge is over, which can take up to 9 months or less, only then will that painter’s switch get flicked. Then it becomes a short burst of creative juices flowing for a few days to a month at most. Then, it’s back to manuscript studies and writing for another 9 months.
  7. Prep Talk – Not at all to be confused with – Pep Talk, but close. If I feel that procrastination is making its way into a longer period of annoyance, I’ll stab it out by acknowledging it as fear. Once I’ve done that, talking to myself of how I’m feeling of a writing situation I’m in creatively, I’ll pretend those fear elements are people around me that I’ve known or have yet to know or meet. I’ll talk back to the ‘visual hallucination‘ (that I’m conscious of making in my mind) and I’ll act out that situation in the room. I’ll do this when its just me in the house alone, so no interruptions by anyone else crossing my path so I can concentrate. Subjects I’ll confront of this fear induced procrastination are – a) having an argument with an editor. b) reminding myself how much passion I’m backing this writing project. c) the main reasons for wanting to become a published author with a book or two on shelves. The costs I’m willing to make to make my dream come true and how much all of this means to me. – Once this Prep Talk is finished, the lingering leftovers of that possible procrastination has faded and I jump back on board to working on the edits or current chapters of the current or next manuscript. (To add, this Prep Talk also helps me get out some of my PTSD from my past. The coupling of my ‘publishing fears’ and PTSD, talking it out in an empty room in front of imagined people that I confront, helps me acknowledge that I’m still alive and my passions to be a writer keep me going in a healthy direction)
  8. The Process Starts Again at #1 – Then I go back to the top of this list and I find I’ve done more progress in my writing each and every day or week or months worth of material.

I hope this article helps you or someone you know that is having a hard time with procrastination. Show them these helpful tips in taking control of procrastination to work for them. You’ll be surprised how far you’ve come in your writing.

Cleaning Up The Stage

Cleaning up the store before opening the doors to customers. Preparing the canvas before placing the first paint filled brush stroke. Sweeping the stage before rehearsal begins. Prepping your work space before you type at the typewriter for that important article or first draft of a new novel.

Not all writers do this process, but it does help…at least that’s how I noticed a shift in my work whenever I cleaned up the stage.

I was always a tidy child and teenager. I did as I was ordered and told to do in keeping my room clean or maintaining some form of space to keep organized. Even if it meant that my mother with her bipolar with residual schizophrenia on top of that which the littlest thing would upset her of whatever I did ‘wrong’ to her whims. I grew accustom to maintaining my room as perfect as possible. Reason being for the most part, I danced in my bedroom all the time. I understood early on my own observations while taking ballet class in 1985, that the cleanliness of the studio and stage was important. It kept accidents from happening. There is nothing worse in the world than tripping over the smallest object when dancing.

I took that basic training of cleaning up the stage to heart and still do it today, but with a twist.

I discovered in my early 20s that I had a niche in recognizing a pattern of thought whenever I finished cleaning dishes, laundry and sweeping the floors or cleaning anything else in one day. Once the chores were done for that day, my mind was free to focus on my writing for the rest of the week. I would have 5 or 6 days devoted to writing even if it was only note taking and study of my works. I would finish one to three chapters in that week span. Then the cycle of come Sunday or Monday I would clean house once more to prep for the next work week of writing.

Why would I go to such lengths to clean house in one day, even if all I needed to do was 2 to 3 loads of laundry? Imagine for a moment you want to write a whole chapter. The story is flowing out of you, but your mind is bogged down at the forefront of – ‘There is a load of dishes in the sink’ – ‘there is a load of laundry that needs to be washed’ – As you notice there is something keeping you from your work, you stop and go finish that other thing, for my case chores. If I find that this is happening inside my mind and I know physically there are chores to be done, and I continue to ignore those chores, I get depressed for the next few days cause I’m being lazy to myself and neglectful to my writing.

Writing is the reward for when I’m done with basic household needs. I look at this way, if you can not maintain your household of the basic clutter around you (basic chores as I described before) then how can your mind be calm and at peace to help you focus on your creative work in front of you? As much as a cluttered mind can not focus, neither can a cluttered house, stage, etc. When you have not kept to a basic once a week schedule of maintaining the house needs (your needs, mind you) then the creative work before you will and can suffer as a result.

On a Sunday or Monday I’ll see the dishes need to be done. I’ll see if one or two loads of laundry to be done. I’ll notice there are dust bunnies on the floor and sweep all the floors and clean the cat box. Then come Tuesday onward I’ll have nothing better to do than write a new chapter(s) until the next Sunday or Monday rolls around. Then the cycle starts all over again.

Don’t get me wrong here. There are authors out there of all kinds that just focus on the writing and keep going all the while neglecting the household needs to keep them sane, healthy and happy. Especially the healthy part. If you have a partner in your life that can help with the chores to keep you on task at writing, then ask them to help you with the house chores from time to time. It will help you lessen the load.

These are all crucial processes before you begin any body of creative work, before setting a dinner party or office meeting or before you fill your car with vacation essentials for that road trip adventure. If the stage is not cleaned and ready, how can you focus on the task at hand that will then keep you mentally fit and healthy?

Possible Hail Mary…

I got my 10th rejection letter a few days ago. Later I went hunting in my email account in search for my previous rejection letters and found only two. The others, about seven, had been deleted or I haven’t searched for them effectively enough.

Posting them online on my personal Facebook page I got a few encouraging replies. One of them was a run down of what each of these rejection letters meant. This is what she said:

Actually the rejection from DAW is excellent news. They said even if that particular book wasn’t right for them, they asked you to submit again in the future. So that’s actually GOOD.
The second is just standard confirmation they got it. It doesn’t mean anything and it’ll take 30 days to get back to you. If they don’t *shrug*
The third is an actual rejection. Pay no mind.
Getting rejected is a part of life, and actually a mark that you’re in the writing club now. Many people never get the courage to submit, or give up after one go. Almost no one EVER gets accepted right out of the gate. Stephen King has been rejected hundreds of times. A buddy of mine only has ten works in print and 200 rejections. The object is not to quit. So don’t quit. 💗
I actually printed and framed my very first one. It’s a badge of honor marking that I’m a real writer now.”

10thRejection

Seeing this breakdown of what each one meant, even though I already understood a while ago, it was review for me to fully understand. This got me to thinking and talking with my boyfriend, who is trying ot help me see the  mistakes in my work. Then it happened…Jon saw a slight difference in the first chapter that I had not seen before or thought about. A light bulb went off in my head as I rushed to write down the notes in Volume 2 Journal, but was slowed down by him as he carefully walked back to the computer room with a full cup of coffee being sure not to spill it.

“Hurry! Hurry up!” playfully egging him forward, excitment in my voice, “I need to write this down before I lose it to the winds!”

The hail mary play was this – Jacob Umari still finds these old hand made parchments signed by David Geraci. He does a search for the name online and it leads him to Strong Waters Asylum, now named Strong Waters Rehab Center in upstate New York. While there searching more information about this long dead patient from the 19th century, he hides the files he’s found, along with the parchments and other files from that long lost case file, calls his friend Frankie needing his help and where to find them. Then something terrible happens to Jacob and his friends and family find he’s now kept at Strong Waters for medical evaluation.

Letting this new first chapter of book one steep in my mind for a day or so while going through the first draft or two in my head in story order and I realize something – Scarlet Elwood, Brandon’s wife, wouldn’t have such a heavy role to play. I can take her out and clear up fifteen slow chapters throughout all 3 books.

This also means this frees up time movement to go much faster and the possible shrinkage of book 2 cut in half and more easily mesh with book 1. Frankie would still move forward in book 1 to buy the Geraci mansion to build his story arch and Brandon would still leave Scarlet to presue his story arch as planned, but it would flow much smoother throughout all three books.

Then there’s Davon Tucker, he’d still go to the Geraci mansion with his two bandmates to film the music video. He’d interact with Frankie just as before in book 1 and still have a feel for the mansion as he goes into book 3. This would mean Jacob, Frankie, Brandon and Davon would all still be introduced in the first few chapters of book 1 and span out through the rest with ease. This would give Josh, one of the bandmates, more room to do his dirty work toward Davon instead of having Scarlet be the ‘ring leader’, which seems so out of place. Amy Tucker, Davon’s older sister, is also in on this scheme.

Having fully realized this, this means I can not take off any vacation or special events of any kind.

20th Class Reunion in August – Nope

New Kids On The Block concert in June – Nope

Gem and Rock shows this summer – Nope

Might be able to take a break for the Arlington Fly-In event since it’s right behind the house at the Arlington Airport and the noise of classic airplanes and racing planes would never let me work on my writing as they flew around for three days. Yeah, that’s my only break time. Not to mention, I’d still go out with my man to the movies.

How I work on my manuscripts is I treat it like a retail job of the schedules I used to have. I’m so used to such schedules for nearly 20 years in retail, finding it works great for writing.

2 hours writing/typing, 15min break, 2 hours writing/typing, 30min lunch (or an hour), 2 hours writing/typing, 15min break and 2 hours writing/typing until it’s nearly bed time at around 1am or 3am. This would give me a full 8 hours of work. I’d start at 3pm once my boyfriend is gone off to work and not finish until 3am or sooner. Shoot, maybe its a 10 hour shift. Damn. I can do this easy.

To add, a blank page on the screen never scares me considering how many notes I have on this whole project.

(Below are my 1st and 5th rejection letters)

1stRejection

5thRejection

Query Letter for Soul’s Little Lie

As of late last night, about 11pm, I officially finished writing the third book in the series of Soul’s Little Lie. I’m having to put this all together as one whole book since the first manuscript is less than 70k words and the publishing house does not accept anything less than 80k words. This means, putting it all together in one massive book will have to do. Later, all three can be set up into their respectable publications, but until then, this will have to do.

Below is the query letter I’ve sent out. It’s much better than the one from two years ago.

****

Soul’s Little Lie, a high fantasy with a touch of supernatural, is a story not for the fait at heart when opening the door to forbidden dreams of the past.

Stepping into, what could have been, is more dangerous than not knowing the truth. Men feel pain as much as anyone else. Your echoing cries have been heard. Love is waiting for you.

Ambros Hayemore has a massive task at hand – clean up the power hungry mess his father Lord Ynycornus started. A game of power through the lost magic of necromancy of stealing and using an other’s soul is forbidden for a reason. What is worse, is what damage could Ambros Hayemore have caused by going back in time through consciousness of dreams and thoughts? Doors that should have never been opened have lead all involved into a tangled web of the soul’s little lie of haunted pain from the past and a future most uncertain.

The beginning of his quest is to find the Five Lords of the human lives they once lived. To do this, the Geraci mansion in Lowell, Massachusetts must be purchased and refurbished to be used as a beacon for the Five Lords to find their way home. Appointing Frankie Bellington to take possession of the mansion, he is thwarted with troubles ahead. FBI Agent Jacob Umari is lost in the dreaming while in coma at Strong Waters Rehab Center. Brandon Elwood is self medicating by having an affair to get away from his abusive wife. Davon Tucker is drawn to the mansion and by doing so, hides inside himself to the trauma he endured from his sister. David Geraci, the last owner of the mansion a hundred and seven years ago, his soul afterlife is hijacked by Lord Ynycornus to use to his advantage to ensnare Vivian Warren to force her to reincarnate to Mythia as Princess Ira, Ambros’ mother, so he can take the throne.

Observing your publications for years, I have come to enjoy the books your company produces with the authors you have found. Currently, I am reading Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear. I had been previously published for a short time having learned many lessons along the way. It was an experience I will never forget.

Soul’s Little Lie is a three part book of a word count at 265,856 with 87 chapters and 783 pages.

Readings From The Past: A Collection

I only read novels that physically attract me to them due to the book covers. Not because of the common ‘judge a book by its cover‘ mental concept, but by the art itself of how the artist put together the composition of the painting to be so pleasing to the eye.  If the book cover tantalizes my eyes, I then read the synopsis on the back.  If the synopsis tells too much, my mind figures out the story and finds clichés and tropes right after.  I then put the book back on the shelf and start over in search for one that attracts my attention.

Once I’ve found the right book with the cover that is beautiful as the work of art that it is and that the synopsis hasn’t given away too much and that my mind is unable to unravel the story from there, I’ll buy it and start reading the next day.

This is a small list of books that did just that for me…

The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

Zodiac by Romina Russell

What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Queen’s Own by Mercedes Lackey

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Fear Street Series by R.L. Stine

I would post more, but my collection was given away to charity without my knowledge due to unforeseen circumstances and a bad turn of events from 2 years ago since I had to leave nearly everything behind.

I also read non-fiction more in the educational side.  If I read biographies it is for study only, not much for entertainment.  I would also have posted more to this list if I had the funds and the bookshelf space for more books.  It takes time to build the physical library one wants in the computer room to become a true library and no I do not read books by computer screens. It hurts my eyes.

Well, the new year is here and this is my first blog post to start out.  I will still probably write an article or post once a month as I have always been.  I’m not much for writing author page blog articles since I have so much  more work to do for my book series.  I will be keeping tabs here from time to time on how my progress is going, but if you want to keep up with me you can find me on Facebook. The link is in the About section up top. Thank you.