Guys, writer friends, ANYONE, I **URGENTLY** need your help.
I just found this: http://www.letsgowrimos.com/
and… I don’t know. Do you think it’s legitimate? Have you heard anything about it? I’m trying to find rules—did the whole thing have to be written in NaNo, or only parts, and… I’m kind of freaking out.
Because this could be a really great opportunity. Or it could be a nightmare. I could be finding future—or selling my soul. This isn’t the kind of thing to be rushed into, but I only *JUST* found out about it, and…
I know that none of you guys are EXPERTS here, but you’re also the only ones I have to reach out to on such short notice.
I don’t know. I don’t KNOW you guys. What do you think I should do? Should I go for it? Does it sound sketchy? I’m trying to find rules, but I can’t—not really. It sounds like you can upload ANYTHING for possible publication. I just… I don’t know.
If anyone has any advice, or thoughts, I’d love to hear it. This is… a big deal. And unfortunately, time is ticking down.
For additional information, I have **NO INTEREST** in attempting to self-publish, only in that possible 10-Authors-Are-Picked deal.
As well, here’s more information:
The book I would attempt to submit would be the first novel in the series that is, in a way, my soul. I could handle if it was rejected, but if it was stolen, or abused, or my Golden Opportunity turns out to only be a plated trapdoor… I don’t know. It would be the end of me.
Alright suckers, NaNoWriMo’s coming up again, and I seem to be torn on what to do with my secondary NaNo project.
If you know me at all, you’ll know that for the last… two…. (???????? just one???) years I’ve tried to double-team my NaNo, so that I attempt to get 50,000 words for TWO stories. Last year I got a combined total of 80,000 words, so clearly it works.
Anyway, my primary project will of course be SMtLaD—SMtLaD Book 2, which is going to be both GREAT and TERRIFYING because it’s been so long since I actually wrote something entirely original that I’m taking seriously I feel like I don’t remember how to do it anymore. @____@ ((Book 1 is original, but I’ve been working on a second/third draft of it for… um… five years ;;;;))
I have two ideas for this year’s NaNo; both of them are throwbacks, or revitalizations. They are:
- ALL THE DEAD CARRY LANTERNS — A sort of horror story about a race of human-like people called Marshboys who… live in a marsh and carry lanterns. There’s a lot more to it but, surprise, I’m not feeling well. You can find a ton about it at here. And yes, surprise! I actually attempted to NaNo it several years ago, but it was a mess (I can get into the full story later if anyone cares) and I feel it’s time to try it again.
- AN UNTITLED WORK that I just call “Judas” or “Judas Vampire” because… well, the main character is named Judas and he’s a vampire. Judas is an asshole who “lives” in the Vatican City and fucks with the priests (not literally) and wears crosses in his hair because he’s just like that. It actually contains some BibMyth elements without actually being (in my book) BibMyth; it’s my personal favorite iteration of vampires I’ve come up with, and I’m very proud of it. Also I seem to have a fondness for Judas’ personality type. ;;; You should be able to find stuff about him here
Fair warning that both of those links lead to REALLY REALLY OLD ART. =_____=;;;;;;;;;
So…. yeah. If you’d let me know which you’d rather see, send me an Ask or a reply or a something. Or Answer this I guess, I’ll add a question mark at the end.
Thank you for your help, obligatory question mark?
I was thinking the other day that, man, I hadn’t really come up with any new ideas in a while, and my All Subjects Composition Notebook was getting filled up pretty slowly, and mostly with school notes (and To Do lists). And that was pretty disappointing
But I’ve come up with two ideas in the last five days or so
and four within the last three weeks or so
Someone tell my brain to shut up
By the way, guys, I made an extra page explaining some of the basic starting points of the Blog right over here if that interests anyone, because I know it can be kind of tough to figure out where to start on this stupid thing
… and that last post is definitely not a great place to start. Oh man ;;;;
I came up with an idea today and thought it was pretty cool. Realized it would, by necessity, have to be steampunk and was slightly less excited over it
Also, one of the keywords in it is “lubricant” and it is NOT a male/male pornography story. I don’t even think there’ll be any romance in it at all. I know. I’m as surprised and confused as you are
I really ought to have put it on this blog.
And I swear to god it is not a m/m pornography
[Fracture] Page 1
You rub your arms as you step under the balcony and out of the rain. You frown, and shudder at the cold. You weren’t expecting it to get so cold so fast—you’re only wearing a hoodie over your T-shirt, a pair of shorts, and some thoroughly-soaked sneakers.
“Hey, you got a cigarette?” the old man who might be homeless or might have a mental handicap squatting against the wall asks you through his last good teeth. You shake your head silently and turn away from him, hoping he loses attention.
You look back the way you came, but the rain and the mist it’s causing is so think you can hardly see anything at all. It’s just you—cold, soaking, and shivering—the space under the balcony you’re sheltering in, and the old man who’s already forgotten you and is staring blankly into space.
You turn back to the building holding the balcony up and you notice there’s a door in it for the first time. It’s plain, wood, and looks, somehow, older than the building around it. It has scratches in it from natural wear and tear, and there’s discoloration around the parts that are raised. The door knob looks like it’s rusted, or tarnished—either way it’s seen better days.
You glance behind you, back out in the rain, and then decide to open the door and go inside. You have no idea what this building is, but it’s got to be better than standing out here in the cold; you’re already starting to lose feeling below your knees. Your breath puffs in front of you as you trudge, sodden, to the door, and turn the knob. To your surprise, it doesn’t open at first. You try again—it doesn’t turn. But it feels like, if you just tried hard enough, it would give.
Do you try the handle again, or do you walk around back and look for a back entrance?
Friendly reminder that I wrote a horror CYOAS once. I finished the main path, but not much more. It’s actually not on hiatus or dropped—but as an interactive story, I can’t work on it if I don’t have someone making choices.
Lauren’s Kind of Writing Tip #008: Challenge Accepted
Tip #008: Challenge Accepted
This tip is actually best told with stories, but before I get into those, I guess I’ll just sort of present the tip first:
IF YOU FIND SOMETHING STRANGE OR RIDICULOUS, CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO MAKE SOMETHING AMAZING OUT OF IT. THEN DO IT.
Yeah, see, it really needs stories to make more sense. So here are two stories:
1) Broom-cupboard Ending
So when I was working on my Choose Your Own Adventure Story more often, at one point I had a friend make a decision, and she gave me something totally ridiculous. Actually, let me see if I can find it… (Never mind, I looked, it is buried and lost forever TT____T)
Anyway, I needed a page to do next, or the next decision, and she told me that one of the ways you should die (because it’s a second-person story where “you” really is meant to be YOU READING THIS RIGHT NOW HI YOU) because a broom falls on your head. So, feeling spiteful, I wrote it, and it was silly and fun.
And then I decided, No, why don’t I try to actually do this and make it serious? And now that is actually one of my favorite endings in Fracture.
2) Woogly Eyes
This one started about a week ago or so. (Well, slightly before, but I mean the actual idea.) So when I work at my school cafeteria, I’m often in the deli, where we make sandwiches. There are a bunch of stickers on the top of the counter so we can mark out pricing for the cashiers. We have white, green, blue, and purple (basic, veggie, better, best). Anyway, I usually use a single purple sticker on mine. (BTW, they’re circles, mostly small but some big ones) But, if someone else already has one, I’ll use two purples.
So of course it occurs to me after a while that they look like eyes, and I think it’s silly and great. I even end up drawing pupils at one point. I call them “woogly eyes”, which is a bastardization of “googly eyes” and just sort of delight myself by being a six year-old and saying “wooglywooglywoogly” over and over and over.
And then I pose myself a challenge: To take woogly eyes and the term itself and make it something SERIOUS and SCARY.
So I ended up with the idea for a story where the main character is this teenaged boy, like 16, and he has a little sister who’s six or something. The girl tells him that sometimes when she looks up at the moon, she can see a pair of eyes come out from behind it and stare at her, and she calls them the “woogly eyes”. He thinks that’s ridiculous, but tells her that it’s okay and it’s just her imagination, don’t worry. a while later, he’s looking up at the moon when it’s dark when suddenly he sees these two purple lights appear and slide out form behind the moon. And he just knows they’re eyes and that they’re staring right at him, and of course he’s TERRIFIED. Then a smile appears and the eyes and the smile go back to hiding behind the moon. Freaked out, he finds his sister and tells her that he saw Woogly Eyes, and she just sort of nods and says that she’s scared. The next morning, she’s gone, and the boy just knows Woogly Eyes took her.
And then it just sort of spiraled from there and I have all these other little bits and concepts that I want to add together, and now I can say “woogly eyes” and freak my friends out a little bit* and it’s actually a REALLY COOL IDEA and all because I challenged myself to do something stupid.
So… yeah. Consider doing that sometimes! Just making stupid comments or jokes and deciding to make them serious. You never know where you might find yourself. : )
Lauren’s Kind of Writing Tip #007: Making a Drop Feel Heavy
Tip #007: Making a Drop Feel Heavy
I’ve been told once or twice (by AG) that I’m really good at making emotional shifts in my writing (thanks AG! <3), and after just reading a short story that COMPLETELY FAILED to connect at all with anything in my brain, I’ve come to an important conclusion, which is what I would like to discuss/mention here.
WRITING IS ALL ABOUT EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION
It is. You, as a writer, are purposefully fucking with your reader. This isn’t bad—a lot of people like being messed with (“This movie is so sad BUT SO GOOD”, “Oh man, I feel so happy after reading this part~~~” ”IT’S SO CUTE I COULD DIE”), but most of the emotions you’ll be manipulating aren’t just for big reveals (the drop in the title) or cute shipping moments you want to sell.
You should be manipulating your reader with every sentence.
Here’s an example and why this is necessary:
In this story I just read, a girl sings beautifully—and is embarrassed by it. Because she sings so well. There’s no hint that it’s because, say, she wants to be anonymous—in fact it’s known that she loves attention, it’s clear from how she acts. She’s just embarrassed. There’s no reason given, no emotion. I can’t connect.
It’s later revealed—extremely abruptly—that this girl is the child of two super-spies and she has superpowers too. It’s brought up very suddenly, by her mother and boyfriend. It’s a ridiculous story—something you need to work hard to sell and make not sell ridiculous. Instead of being terrified, horrified, confused, unbelieving, she thinks it’s snazzy and then goes to bed. I can’t connect.
MANIPULATING THE EMOTIONS OF YOUR READER IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL TO THE SELLING OF YOUR STORY.
The trick with really important things—things where you need your reader fully engaged, where you need them to really buy a far-fetched concept or to get the full emotional impact of a scene—is to make the emotions portrayed in the story RESONATE WITH YOUR READER. This is so incredibly important.
When she’s embarrassed over her voice, I could have believed it—and been sympathetic towards her—if there was more establishing of emotion. Why is she embarrassed? She knows she sounds good, so why is that bad? Is it because she feels awkward and out of place and wants to be anonymous, but because she can’t control her voice she keeps sticking out when she doesn’t want to? Did a choir director give her a solo when it had already been promised to her friend, and even though she didn’t want the solo at all, the friend was still bitter and jealous and they had a falling out for it? Did someone she know be injured because she was singing—maybe an uncle was on the roof fixing an antenna, and thinking she was alone, she started singing, and her uncle got distracted just listening, lost his balance, fell, and either broke his neck or just an arm? The last one is extreme, BUT IT’S SOMETHING I COULD UNDERSTAND, SOMETHING I COULD FEEL. But there was nothing, and so I went through the story thinking she was bland and flat.
The most important thing with manipulating how your readers feel is during reveals. OH IT’S SO IMPORTANT. Fun fact, reveals are Lauren’s absolute favorite parts of anything ever. Because she loves the tension, she loves the DROP of it, she loves the suspense. How will they treat the character now? How will things change? How will everyone react? Reveals are great—my favorite episode of Danny Phantom is the one where, as Danny Phantom, he lands on a stage in the middle of his entire city and turns into Danny Fenton. IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL. Everyone is shocked and you spend the whole episode going, “Holy shit, what happens now?” They lose their memories at the end, but so? You still had a drop.
But drops can be hard—especially if it’s something weird, like “oh yes you’re from a family of super-spies”. If you just drop it in there, “SURPRISE YOU’RE THE GENETICALLY-MANIPULATED CHILDREN OF SPIES LOL” and the main character is like “OMG COOL”, your reader will certainly be confused, won’t believe it at all, and might even want to punch you in the face. (Ohhhh, yes.) You don’t SELL it. It sounds like you grabbed an idea from a hat and threw it in there to troll people.
But if you set it up powerfully enough, if you get the emotions going, you can have something GREAT. The trick here to sell something as bizarre as this is to make sure YOU RESONATE WITH THE READER. With something like this, your reader is going to be shocked, confused, and might call “bullshit” on you. So what do you do?
You have the main character be shocked, confused, and call “bullshit” on the situation.
By having your character act and react the way the reader will be feeling, it allows the reader to suspend their disbelief—“Okay, I can believe this situation is real because this character is acting in a real way”.
If you can do this, if you can more or less capture the emotions the way the reader would feel them, then as the character is convinced, SO TOO WILL BE THE READER.
"But Lauren, how am I supposed to just magically know the way a reader will react?!"
Think about it—if that was you there, how would YOU react? If someone tried to tell you you had the blood of unicorns and were being chased after by a wizard who wanted to rip out your heart, turn it into cotton candy, and eat it? You’d probably think it was the dumbest fucking thing you’d ever heard, you’d laugh at whoever told you it and think they’re ridiculous.
But the other person isn’t laughing. They’re just staring at you, a slight frown on their face, too serious. You start to get uneasy, because, come on, fucking seriously? Unicorns and cotton candy? But they aren’t laughing, and they aren’t giving, and… Come on. Come on you can’t mean possibly mean that.
Now you’re a little bit freaked out. Wait, are they fucking serious? Come on this is such bullshit—and then the wizard appears and tries to reach into your chest and pull out your heart and suddenly,
And that’s how it needs to work. That’s how you SELL SOMETHING. Because it feels like they react in a real way, so too can you believe.
Of course, there are other variables involved in selling something really big or really out there—like having subtle hints, or even just establishing the idea that there’s SOME kind of secret out there that needs to be discovered. But for right now, I’m simply talking about emotions, so we’ll just stick with that.
Another really good tip I want to give (and for the most part where the title comes from), is really how to sell a bit of startling plot-twist exposition. Because it can be tough, and it can mean EVERYTHING—just like in this short story I read.
What I recommend for this, what I feel works best and is the most believable, is FORCING SOMEONE’S HAND.
I’m sorry, but I’m going to be terribly arrogant here and call up some examples from my own writing, because they’re all that I can think of. Some spoilers, but eh, you should know most of these if you read my stuff at all.
2012: A ZOMBIE STORY — Casperiel does not reveal that he is an Angel of the Lord (a motherfucking Angel of the Lord YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS) until he has absolutely no choice but to pull out his wings in order to save the lives of him and his friends. He’s left with NO CHOICE but to reveal or to die. His hand has been forced—no wonder he would talk.
ZAKARIN — Nick suddenly comes bursting into Hugo’s room holding two copies of his birth certificate—one that says he was born in 1999, one that says 1995. Hugo could try to dismiss it, but Nick could have only found them in Hugo’s own files, and he also has a picture to back up the year discrepancy (as it’s time-stamped 1997 and he’s two or three years old) and someone else has said that they thought he was supposed to be nearly twenty. It’s not a huge push, but it’s still enough that Hugo has no choice but to explain the truth about Nick and Will’s backstory, that Nick had been frozen in a stasis for four years (are you shitting me) and that Kiera dragged Hugo all over the world (are you kidding me) before getting his wife and brother murdered (okay now really), because otherwise things will ferment and turn nasty. His hand has been forced—so of course he talks.
SMTLAD — Sun knows Stars’ secret, and knows that Stars is the one who’s kidnapped him. Stars becomes stranded, alone, with Sun, and Sun won’t let it go. He won’t allow Stars not to talk—not this time. And of course he doesn’t HAVE to (if you’re existentialist like that), but if he doesn’t, he will undoubtedly lose Sun forever, and it’s not like he can just run away and call a rain check on this one. He has no choice but to speak—his hand has been forced.
And things like that.
If there’s no real, concrete reason that your character HAS to reveal something ground-breaking, earth-shattering, or reality-skewing, it’ll be a bit harder to sell.
And for stuff like that—Sapphire is suddenly telling Sun about Mama?—you really need to dig deep into emotions. There still has to be some emotional catalyst, some reason that makes this moment different from others, that makes now the time your character speaks.
And then, of course, along with your character who’s doing the revealing needing proper emotional backing, so too do the characters who hear this reveal—
2012: A ZOMBIE STORY — Gregor just won’t believe it at all, and tells Casper (even though he can see his wings) that that is total bullshit. But Olivia can see the truth, and although she’s wary, she slowly works through it and accepts it. Gregor stays skeptical more or less until an army of other angels come crashing down and he has to accept this reality. SKEPTICISM OF SOMETHING CRAZY IS HOW MOST PEOPLE WOULD REACT.
ZAKARIN — Will and Nick are hardly described during this long passage at all—but there are hints, here and there. Hints that they’re horrified, that they’re scared and hurt. Hugo actually carries the emotion for all of them—Hugo’s anger and pain are understated but strong enough to come out as bitterness and hatred and you can feel yourself go quiet, too, with a sort of dawning horror, especially as there are no new concepts to be believed—we’ve already got demons, and curses, and contamination. But what he says could come across as a fairytale, or something he made up—but Hugo is too sure of himself, the Will and Nick believe it absolutely. But they’re shaken. BEING SHAKEN OR UNSETTLED, BUT QUIET, WHEN SOMETHING IS REVEALED IS A NATURAL REACTION.
SMTLAD — Sun starts shouting, saying that Stars is wrong, that he’s NOT the Prince, that that’s FUCKING STUPID, he’s just some kid who can’t do a damn thing or live on his own at all. The people around him try to be patient and gentle, because they hurt for him. But he fights it as hard as he could, he keeps trying to find counterpoints, it keeps being described that he’s scared and confused and upset and he can’t believe it because it would break him, it would break everything, it’s too ridiculous, it’s too strange. But finally there’s too much evidence, his friends are too serious, too genuine. DENIAL IS PERFECTLY NORMAL, AND PERFECTLY UNDERSTANDABLE.
Because the characters react in ways that are real, the reader is able to believe the situation is real. As a writer, you’re a salesperson—it’s your job to take this figment of your imagination and say, “Hey, you should believe this—you should believe it so much that it can make your heart hurt or your lips form a smile for joy”, because that’s what that is—that the emotions in the story feel so real that the reader feels them themselves.
And that’s what you need to do—whether it’s to sell a reveal, make a character believable, or just hold someone’s attention. You manipulate your reader’s emotions, by resonating in places to make sure you catch them, that way you can guide them to feel what you want when you want, to believe things that shouldn’t be believed, to hurt when you want them to hurt and laugh when you want them to laugh.
This tip is kind of long, and rambly, and I apologize for that—but it’s kind of a huge topic, and I have a lot to say on it, and I’m not entirely sure, I suppose, how to say it. (Plus my brain keeps going “Let’s play The Last Story already…”.)
Anyway, I hope this helps, at least a little. And I hope you find it a bit interesting!
Good luck with the end of NaNo!