Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Christmas revelation: 2011 throwback.

image found here.
At Christmas last year, a lovely glass of Pinot Noir and some down home holiday cheer prompted me to confess writing to one of my uncles. This is the same uncle who used to tell us elaborate scary stories around the campfire every summer. It was a big kernel for Little Bird and her love of make-believe. Granted, none of us realized they were borrowed stories. Now the big joke at family gatherings is that, upon the awakening of adolescence, my cousins and I were all baffled to learn that Uncle Paul had stolen IT from Stephen King, and not the other way around.

After telling my uncle that I had written two novels (that is, a sh**ty first draft for each), he said, "That's great! *beams with premature pride* You know what I see you writing? Drama. Just a good, old-fashioned family drama."

My immediate thought: I kind of wish I was. How do you tell the uncle who introduced you to Stephen King that are you are not, in fact, writing any good, old-fashioned family dramas? It made me take a hard look at how I categorize my work. The knee-jerk label is "YA fantasy." That's what the market would call it. I don't feel any shame for this, but here's the thing:

"YA fantasy" is a just a classification. A classification that pulls me in like a magnet, but also, one that meant little-to-nothing (or, at least, not-at-all-the-same-thing) 50 years ago. At their core, don't all good stories, regardless of genre/demographic/any other definition, all come back to the play between comedy and tragedy?

You can't always go for the assumptions others make about you. I mean, why should any of us be bound by that? It's destructive. If I was bound by my grandmother's view of me, I'd have to be a genius, beautiful, social butterfly who loves everyone and everything, all the time, and is never sad. Spoiler alert: this is impossible.

But my uncle really struck a chord in me. Because after the initial shock of OH MY GOSH PLEASE DON'T ASK ME WHAT I AM WRITING (surprisingly, no one that night did), I realized...

Huh. Wait a minute. It is a family drama! Guised in a speculative world. How could he tell, without me even knowing?

Which got me to thinking about the *magic* in this story, and what purpose it serves. A good thing to consider, yeah? And also, why magic? Why fantasy?

A few findings: My characters don't use magic so much as experience it. And it is, without a doubt, the backbone of that family drama. For this story, it works. 

But, just as I can't be bound by what others think, I also can't be bound by my own blind definitions of self. A startling discovery: the VAST majority of story ideas I've been culminating since childhood are contemporary stories or magical realism. Almost all of them are dramas. Further startling discovery: my current WiP is the only flat-out fantasy idea that's ever taken up residence in ye olde cranium.


Merry Christmas!










Also, this.

i couldn't resist. credit.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bird in the box is HERE.

So. Remember this?

"When I began blogging in 2010, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn't think I was starting a "writing blog," though that's quickly what it became.

For some time, I've felt uncomfortable splitting myself in two with every post. There's the writer me, and the pre-taking-it-seriously writer me, also known as college me, theatre me, camp counselor me, facebook me...

Now, as I do begin to take writing more seriously, I want to also take blogging about writing more seriously. Not that I can make grand promises. You likely won't be able to tell the difference between this blog and the new one. But the act of embarking, of calling out a change, and of assigning a specific portion of myself to a certain space feels VERY much like the right thing to do.

It only took signing up for WriteOnCon for me to realize (even after all those Platform-Building Campaigns-- yay!) that I didn't want to lead other writers (or, eep, industry pros) to a personal blog about nothing in particular + writing sometimes

Thus! Bird in the Box is born! I know I've been dormant lately (summers are HARD), but I'd love to see some familiar faces pop by the new digs. I may continue to post here, but Bird in the Box is where all the writing-related things will be, from now on. Also, I won't be offended if you decide to un-follow RwPB. Seriously. Love to all of you! I would have never come so far in the craft, as far as I have yet to go, without the help of fellow bloggers. 

*internet hug*"

Friends, I made a mistake. I've been toiling over that post ever since I wrote it. Toiling over the split. Because, at my heart of hearts, that's EXACTLY what I DO want to lead other writers, or industry pros, or even real-life friends (as scary as you are, for some reason) to. Me being Me. And there is a big part of Me that wants to blog about craft, which is something I've been afraid to do. I thought starting over would fix that, but it really only made me feel lonely and embarrassed. Why should I have wanted to change so much, so badly?

And so, yes, Bird in the Box is born. But Bird in the Box is also HERE, at, formerly rosewood pencil box. I haven't changed so much recently that I should abandon everything I was before. 

I mean, I obviously still have a thing for boxes.  :)

Thanks for sticking with me. I've a had a bit of a floundery summer. And, to echo what I said before, lots of love, and lots of thanks. I owe a metric ton of my growth to blogging. Annnnnnd now I'll stop being sappy, put on my big-girl hat, and give up worrying what others think of me.


(Note: I went in to edit this post, and ended up changing it entirely. Hello to everyone who commented before, both here and there. You had a lot to do with this. You're brilliant, and I love you. Okay, NOW I'm done with the sappiness.)