Your Story Deserves Better

Exactly six months ago today, I was basking in one of the most incredible sensations I’ve ever felt in my life. My short story, Continuum, was going to be published in a short story anthology by a publisher called Inkshares. We won The Nerdist Video Games Contest, and sold the highest number of pre-orders, which meant we’d receive full publication. As of today, you can still visit the page for the book where it’s the #1 Bestseller in Video Game related books. I have never felt as euphoric as I did on July 15th. I made a video in which I cried and poured my heart out about how good it felt to be accomplishing a dream I’d had my whole life at the young age of 25. I never released that video to the public, and given my news from this weekend, I doubt I now ever will.

Why? Because Inkshares emailed us this past weekend to tell us they were cancelling our book.

My first published work is getting ripped out from under me, and I refuse to pretend that I’m not simultaneously devastated and mad as hell.

Inkshares was a company that, this time last year, I believed in so fervently I could barely get through a day without telling someone about it. I sang their praises till I was blue in the face, and believed in them the way a kid believes in their parents. I thought Inkshares was it. My gateway to the world of being a published author. I had more hope than I can convey in words that this would be how my book got into the world. I believed this so much so that I ignored any opposing views that might suggest otherwise. How could a site that had given me so much (friends, a platform, hope) be so bad?

I look back on that time and long for it, because while the first five months were full of learning and growing and trying new things, every month since their change in management has been a nightmare for me and countless other authors, and given this weekend’s events, I can no longer stay quiet about it.

Now, please keep in mind as you read this, that my opinions are MINE. I’m in no way speaking for any other person who has ever been tied to Inkshares, mainly because some of them have had fine and dandy experiences. To them I say, that’s great. That’s not my experience, and from the conversations with friends, the emails I’ve seen (or lack of correspondence and transparency all together) on the parts of others, has led me to be utterly appalled at the way business is now being run. While there are perfectly lovely people working there, recent decisions have been made without any regard for the creators who fuel the site. Here is what transpired for me with them since things began to change.

In June of 2016, a small band of authors from Inkshares got the idea to write an anthology and enter it in the Nerdist Contest. Weary that perhaps an anthology would be unfair to other authors, several members of our group reached out to the staff at Inkshares (honestly can’t remember if it was 3 people or 5 people) and we were given the go ahead. Their staff was enthusiastic. Said it would be great. Several of said staff bought copies almost immediately. All of us authors were THRILLED when the book took the lead. We had done everything to make sure the company deemed this entry fair, and were succeeding.

In July, we won the contest. Our book sold over 400 copies to 366 unique readers. I cried and felt that immeasurable joy described at the start of this blog post. It was brought up that the new CEO of the company was less than thrilled at the notion of our anthology. But we had won the contest, which meant we would be published. All seemed well. We submitted our manuscript in August, then waited for news.

In December, we FINALLY heard from the CEO! He was asking us for a synopsis and a log line for each of our stories. While his email read like he didn’t even know we’d submitted our manuscript, we sent them anyway. Some in our group had hope that this would mean we’d soon have feedback on our pages. Some were frustrated that it took them this long to acknowledge our existence. I toed the line between the two, the optimist in me still really hoping I was wrong about my mounting fears that were based on bad experiences others at the site I knew were dealing with.

Cut to Friday. We received an email from the CEO saying our book had been cancelled. It was a flat dismissal, with no room for discussion. The basic issue was that some of the stories were not closely related enough to video games, which would make Legendary (the production house) frown on the submission as a “bait-and-switch.” He also claimed that, because the stories weren’t all video-gamey, that some readers would feel deceived by the anthology.

Why does that have anything to do with them publishing the book? We won the contest, they publish the book. Selling the intellectual property to a production studio is secondary.

The real kicker though, was this line:

“Some of you did write stories about video games, and I very much regret if you feel that you are being unfairly punished.”

 Basically, sorry not sorry to those of you who tried. Even though you did as asked, you don’t deserve publication because we as a company are too lazy to do our job and help you work through your manuscript to make it the best it can be for the readers who paid for it.

After hearing other stories of disappointment and hurt, many of which had to do with this obsession with IP sales, this felt like the nail in the coffin.

My story is not the only one. I have a list of friends with concerns regarding this site that’s as long as my arm, and while I would love to share more on that, it’s not my place. And I note again, I speak for NO ONE else in this anthology but myself. I know many of them will probably not agree with me sharing the information I have already, but I for one cannot continue to stay quiet about the way in which some authors I know have been treated. All of us in this anthology were cheated, and I don’t feel it was fair to any of us to have this taken away when the concerns expressed were something that could have been easily resolved.

I don’t come here to tell you, HATE INKSHARES THEY SUCK, because that is not true, nor is it fair. Plenty of people have had great experiences publishing through Inkshares, and I am sure those individuals will continue to defend them tooth and nail, as is their right. But it is also my right to tell another side of the story. A side some would rather have kept quiet. I leave it to you to decide whether or not to ever publish with them or purchase with them. But you cannot make an informed decision when all you hear is the sunshine and daisies side of the story, just as you cannot know everything from reading this overwhelmingly negative (and lengthy) blog post.

I just encourage that you think for yourself. Ask questions, ESPECIALLY when people are telling you not to. And know that if you are a writer seeking publication through Inkshares, you don’t deserve to be treated like this. You as a writer deserve respect and fairness and honesty, because these are things every human being deserves. You do NOT deserve to have your work dismissed and cancelled because it isn’t good enough for someone else, or because they don’t want to spend the time of day to help you publish the book you crowdfunded. Whether you write with Inkshares or not, your stories are worth fighting for. Your story deserves better, and so do you.

 

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Happy Recommendsday!

One of my favorite things about the internet has been (and probably always will be) the way in which it allows us to connect with so many people who we may never have met. Its one of the biggest reasons that upon discovering Inkshares, I found myself feeling instantly at home. A network of authors trying to support other authors so we can all make each other’s dreams come true?

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Me at Inkshares

So in the spirit of that support, a few months back I did an event called #Recommendsday, where on Wednesdays, I would recommend some of the books that I most ardently believe people should check out and hopefully down the road, pre-order. That first time the recommendations were all via twitter, but I thought it would be more fun if instead of utilizing the fleeting nature of a tweet, I’d write about these authors books here on my blog for the sake of posterity, and so people always know these are cool books I think are deserving of some love! SO LET’S GET TO THE BOOKS!

PROXY
by Rebekka Leber

Tell a girl she’s  a god, and it all just goes to her head.

If you’re not interested in this book by the end of the first excerpt, than you must be leading a pretty blase life. I was hooked almost instantly by the Jessica Jones-y levels of badassery that seem to emanate from Max Lucas, the story’s heroine. There’s an interplay of modernity and antiquity, of gods and mortals, and as I mentioned when I first recommended the book upon discovering it a few months back, anything that tries to rewrite human history in a unique way is something I’m all about. This book begins funding in June, so make sure you’re following it so you know when it goes live and you can grab a copy for your shelf!

SEVEN SHARDS: THE COLORS OF WINE
by C. Brennecke

The final revolution is coming. She could stop it…but should she?

Seven Shards is the book on this week’s list which has reached one of Inkshares funding goals to be published, but spend five minutes reading, and you’ll understand why. The prose Brennecke employs is enchanting and there’s an ever present feeling that you’re experiencing something ancient and forbidden as you read. This is the kind of book I can’t wait to have in my hands so I can curl up with it under some blankets and be whisked away to a fantastic new world. If epics like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones are in any way your thing, then Seven Shards should be too.

 DISSONANCE IN HARMONY
by Philip Wesley

Two adventurous souls find themselves entangled in a conflict started by the Gods ages ago.

This author’s got something seriously unique going on with a story that flashes between a mystical world with princesses and kings, and a modern day cop who’s just trying to do his best to be the good guy. It leaves you begging to know what the worlds have to do with each other, and how they’ll bleed into one another. There’s upbeat humor and an eerie sense of foreboding, two things that normally might not mix. But the way Wesley weaves his words, it’s sure to capture your attention and keep it.

JUMP THE GUN
by Suaine

Meg, a fighter pilot, and Captain Jasmin Pierce, the civilian commander of the Rheda, find themselves on a mission that spans more than just light years: there’s mystery, adventure, romance, discovery, danger and love for the stars.

Discovered this read through a really profound connection with the author, and upon checking out the first few chapters, I was thrilled to learn that the story was as epic as the person. An inclusive adventure through space, the first two chapters are wonderfully written, a mixture of light humor and serious consequences. These few minutes did what any good story should do, which was make me care immensely for its protagonists right from the jump. Chapters that end with cliffhangers and promises of an adventure across the stars makes this one of my current favorite picks on Inkshares.


Hope you enjoyed this week’s Recommendsday picks! Check back next time for more!

The Wrimos Journey

This post was originally an email Pep Talk sent out to the Philadelphia region of the NaNoWriMo website, as part of our regions weekly Pep Talk initiative. As you may or may not know, I’m one of the Municipal Liaisons for Philadelphia, and part of that job involves encouraging Wrimos. This is how I did it today.

– – –

Happy Day Five, Wrimos! ML Elayna here with your weekly Pep Talk!

By now you’ve likely begun your journey into the wild world of NaNoLand, and hopefully, things are going well! But the truth of NaNoWriMo is that they may not be yet, and I’m here to tell you, that’s okay.

What I’ve learned more so than anything in my 11 years as a Wrimo (Yes, I’ve been at it for that long!) is that every year is an entirely new experience, with so many factors beyond just the story that can end up defining how your November will play out. You may live in a new house, or be working at a new job. You might be starting a new degree in school that takes up all your time, or maybe you’ve graduated and now find yourself with more free time than before! Perhaps your story is something you’ve been plotting for years, or is something you just settled on before reading this email.

Life changes and rotates around us, but there are certain things about NaNoWriMo that always remain the same, and I for one take comfort in that.

There is always a rush that comes with finishing a scene you’ve struggled through. There’s always someone ready in the forums to give you a virtual high five for reaching your goals! Though the best is probably when you tell a friend you’re writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days and they look at you like:

These things are constants. But the most important one of all of these is one that applies whether you find yourselves at the 50K finish line or not on the 30th.

You wrote something.

If I had a dollar for every person I’ve met in life who says, I’m gonna write a book one day!  I could probably completely fund NaNo for a few years. People always say they’re going to write a book. But by being here, reading this email and participating in any capacity, you are being the doer. You are writing a book.

Let this fact be your guide. Know that whether you are a first time WriMo or a NaNoLifer like myself, you’re doing the thing you set out to do, and that makes you the hero of your story. The challenges you may face as you go through this month – work, school, family obligations, general disinterest, new episodes of Doctor Who you want to watch – are not something that any amount of pep talking can make go away. But you, brave WriMo, can fight it. You can sit down each day, write a single sentence, and you will have done what others say is impossible.

You have the power within you to postpone that Netflix binge for just one more hour so you hit 1,667 for the day. You can finish that homework that feels so tedious and exhausting, and then come online for a supportive word war or sprint. You can get together the courage to conquer anxiety and make it to a Write In, because everyone there is supportive and understands you are all here because you’ve got a story to tell. Tl;dr – you can do the thing!

Keep this in mind as you venture through the remainder of this magical month, and I challenge you to think of yourselves as your novel’s main character. Think about what they would do, how they would overcome their struggles, rise to the call to adventure, and at the end of the story, find themselves a stronger person than when they began.

You can do this, mighty WriMo. Let this be you as you continue your noveling journey…

Love, hugs, and many words,

ML Elayna

Why I Write

WHY I WRITE

Why do I write?

Because I have to.

In 25 years on this Earth, I have yet to discover something that thrills me more than a story. Words printed on a worn out page that I have to be careful with because I’ve read it so many times, films I watch over and over again because there’s always some tiny thing to be discovered, staying up all night watching episode after episode of a show because I need to know that the hero who feels so much like myself will survive and defeat the bad guys. Those stories I hold dear were woven with words, words written by those who have come before me.

I write because it is my turn.

I write because of what I’ve been through. Losing loved ones too soon, being the center of tormentors attention, and some days feeling never worthy enough to be held by someone. But I also write because friendship has saved me, love has conquered my inner demons and I have seen enough precious moments slip away to know that each of them is to be cherished as though it will never come again, because the truth is: it won’t. I’ll never smell rain for the first time again or unlearn the yearning for adventure that comes from watching the sun sink below a line to be replaced by stars: but through words, I can experience these sensations again and again, ever in a new way, through new eyes, and with an open heart.

I write because I have a voice. My voice is as unique and precious as it is weird and the same. I’v experienced a life that is so similar to so many, but not one has been through it my way. I write because my story of a surviving a crush on my best friend may make someone else thing, “Maybe I can too…” or because my journeys to other worlds in my dreams could come to be the worlds that someone else escapes to when life tries to tear them down. I write because who am I to rob the world of my consciousness? Who am I, made of stardust and science and wonder, to think my words aren’t important enough to be written down? (Spoiler: This entire paragraph also applies to you…)

I write because more than anything, it is what I love, and love – as I was reminded just this past weekend – is the weapon we all have inside of us. Love is what fights back the night and brings deep meaning to a place that can often feel as though it is reigned by chaos. Love is laced through every word of my stories, my life, and my writing.

This is #WhyIWrite.

Camp NaNoWrapUp

FINAL WORD COUNT: 21,970 

MENTAL STATE

i_tried

 

ICYMI: Camp NaNoWriMo officially ended while I was away this past week at GeekyCon, and since I was too busy fangirling (which I’ll blog about later cause it was a MARVELOUS time) I didn’t get a chance to wrap up the experience of my first summer NaNo attempt, but I wanted to make sure I did.

Let me start by saying that while there’s a small piece of me that is disappointed I didn’t make 50K, the majority of me is extremely proud that I tried and got to 20K words. And to be honest, writing in a month that isn’t November, was a pretty big deal for me. I usually spend most of my year being like, Let me come up with a million ideas for things to write . . . . and then wait till November to write them! The list of reasons why I don’t write can sometimes feel endless:

Well, it’s not November, so I can’t write! 

Circumstances aren’t perfect right now, which means I’m incapable of words.

Excuse excuse! Excuse excuse, excuse excuse excuse excuuuussseee!!1$%^&*

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Stars not in position. Can’t write. Not today.

We’ve all been there before. (At least most of us writers have.) But honestly, that’s the very reason why NaNoWriMo exists! Many writers and creators often get tangled up in real life and so the creative things that matter to us like storytelling become an everlasting I’ll do it later, but before we know it, later has come and gone and you find you’ve never done the thing. It’s extremely frustrating. All that to say, doing NaNoWriMo in July really helped to show me that the stars can be in whatever position they want, but that’s not what always stops me from trying to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. The thing often stopping me is myself, because I either don’t believe enough in the idea or am afraid it won’t be good enough. This month helped just get me going with that good ‘ole NaNoWriMo reckless abandon, and I really enjoyed every minute of it.

July also became largely about trial and error for me as a creator. I had the chance to try writing in a variety of ways: doing it while blogging/vlogging about it, going out and about to try writing in different places, I tried writing backwards, forwards, from the middle, and countless other ways, all on a mission to find what works. But what I really discovered, is that nothing works, but everything goes.

Say-what
Elayna say what??!?

Allow me to explain . . .

While I was at GeekyCon, one of the questions that I ended up hearing attendees asking the special guests on several occasions was How did you get into the industry? What’s your secret to being a successful creator? How do you do the thing? Well turns out, they all had the same response, and that response was that none of them did it in the same way. No two people find success in the same way. Some people are Kardashians, born into families that force you to be a famous whether you like it or not, while some people are Rowlings, who barely survive on welfare for years till one person realizes the genius of her work and decides to give her a chance. Every person has their own story, which is why despite advice, tips and all the retelling of my experiences I do on this blog, none of that is going to change the fact that there’s no right way to write – but you have to love what you do.

I love writing. I love filmmaking, photography, short stories, feature screenplays, vines, tweets and rock operas. I love the idea of me teaming up with the creator of the universe to help bring something new to the table, whether its a fleeting thought, a parody of something I love, or something you’ve never seen before. That is the the single most important thing that I believe makes us human: we connect. We create. We love. And when you’re someone like me, you love to connect and create. John Green put it best . . .

Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.
-John Green

I’m a nerd for writing and I will never not be, whether it is November or July or some other month in the future when we disregard the Gregorian calendar. While Camp NaNoWriMo has come to its close, the writing of my book will not, and I am so looking forward to spending the next three months up until NaNoWriMo proper trying to finish its first draft. My passion will be put through the grinder as I do this, but I believe with enough determination, audacity, and pure fucking stubbornness, I will make it happen.

And for all of those writers who may be reading, I leave you with some of the simplest John Green-y wisdom to help aid you on your quest to share your stories with the world…

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You tell em John.

Happy writing!

Camp NaNo: Weeks 3 & 4

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 8532

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 16,767 

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

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ONE WEEK LEFT. AAAAAGGGHHHHH1YYTFRDE5315467!!!!11

I’m rather upset with myself that not only did my writing fall behind, but my posting about writing did as well. I think at the start of the month, when I was hopeful about this new venture, I must have been expecting every day to be this creative, happy sunshine world in which I write and write about writing and make videos about writing about writing . . . that just didn’t end up being a thing. Honestly, it probably would have been perfectly doable were I not working a full time, 40 hour a week day job, but ya know, bills gotta get paid. I think the hope is that one day I won’t need that day job to take up so much of my time that could be spent creatively running off into the sunset with my characters, but it is not this day. This day is the day that marks six days until the end of Camp NaNoWriMo, which means I’ve got six days to write about 33,000 words. (All while also being at GeekyCon)

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Me right now tbh

At a moment like this, I very well could throw in the towel on this month’s writing, give myself a gold star saying #YouTried and go into full on OMG I’M GOING TO GEEKYCON mode. But as fun and easy as that would be, it wouldn’t be fair to my story, or to myself. I set out to accomplish goals all the time, and then when I fall short, I feel like a total trash can who can’t do anything and that feeling is really no fun for anyone. I hate making promises I can’t keep, to myself and especially others, and I feel I’ve already gone back on my word enough by letting the blogging and vlogging fall by the way side this month.

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So what can I do to not feel like a total fartbag? I can fucking do this. I can sit down over the next few days (even while at Geeky) and focus like a freaking laser on getting to 50K before August hits. I can stop scrolling through tumblr for a few days, stop trying to tweet so much about writing that I don’t actually write anything, and honestly, I can stop blogging about it. I need to just set down, with me, my notes and an open word processor, and let this happen. My best writing days tend to be the ones where I stop being so worried about creating a story and realize that the story already exists, I just haven’t put it to paper yet. At least for me, it helps sometimes to think of my stories as already done, as forgone conclusions that I’m merely transcribing to a page. Its my plan for this week, and hopefully it works.

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Thanks Yoda. You’re such a good writing coach.

I can’t make promises that I will absolutely reach my 50,000 word goal before the clock strikes midnight on August 1st, but I can promise this: I’m going to do everything within my power to make it happen, and I WILL NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES give up. Here’s hoping I’ll be posting August 1st with a bunch of happy success gifs because I did what I really set out to do. Here’s to real word sprinting, typing like a maniac, and hopefully, to hitting 50K.

i cant wait
You and me both, Ru.

 

Camp NaNo: Day 11

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 1654

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 8235

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

Morpheus
#YAS

After finally seeing my word count climb I honestly just feel like busting out a rendition of “At Last” by Etta James cause GOSH DARN IT DOES IT FEEL GOOD TO SEE THAT NUMBER GO UP.

For anyone who’s been following, you know I’ve been having a rough time of things this week two. Honestly it’s been difficult trying to find the right inspiration, even despite my efforts to go to new places and seek out new horizons. New spaces are amazing and help so much, but what I’m coming to realize is that sometimes going to the physical spaces isn’t quite enough. Sometimes it’s ones own head space that can be the hardest to escape.

Today was rather uneventful to be honest, because it mostly consisted of me waking up, going to work for four hours and then booking it down town to find my new space for the day. I ended up turning down an office party actually to go get writing done, which some people found surprising. For me, it was an easy decision – not because I don’t love my coworkers and could have used a night to relax, but because in a month with so little time and so much to be done, sometimes the work has to come first, and it makes the decision a much easier one to make when the work is enjoyable as heck.

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Me about writing #AllDay #EveryDay

My place I ended up trekking to was new for me. It was a cafe called Cake and the Beanstalk, which I had been to before to grab a coffee, but had never had a chance to sit down in and get any work done. As fate would have it, this day I walked in, worried I’d not find a seat, only to find NO ONE else was there. I had free reign to pick whichever adorably cute hand painted table I wanted. (I actually ended up switching tables before the night was out, cause why not?) This little place was perfect with super yummy iced coffee and this gluten free, flourless cake thing that was 10 kinds of delicious. The sitting room also happens to have enormous windows which show the beautiful garden right next door, so the ambiance of being outside in a secret garden while getting to stay inside with outlets and away from bugs was great too. Safe to say, I adored this place. 10/10 would recommend to others for a good place to get some writing done.

But as for the story, I guess I just hope I can keep up the momentum so I can finally pull ahead in my word count. It’s been so hard trying to keep on top of everything, which I suppose comes with the territory of being a writer with an unrelated day job to pay the bills. Here’s to hoping though that all this stress, long nights, and relentless missions to find new places to write pays off one day with a book I can publish, so maybe, just maybe, I can make a living doing the thing I like doing as much as breathing.

PROJECT WRITE SPACE

TODAY’S TIME & SPACE
5:45pm, Cake and the Beanstalk Cafe

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Camp NaNo: Day 10

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 107

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6581

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

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I THINK I GOT IT

Some days, you can spend hours and hours and way too many cups of coffee just to come up with notta. No new ideas, no character development, no resolution for your #plotprobs – NOTHING. These days tend to leave one feeling like curling up in a ball would be a much better game plan than writting 50K in four weeks.

Then there are days where one little statement sparks in you something you never tried, and before you know it, you’ve cured your writers block.

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BRILLIANT!

Lemme back track, as I’m sure some of you are doubting the epicness of this idea given I only got about 100 new words for this day.

I decided my Write Space for the day would be a Starbucks I know that’s open late downtown, but upon arriving to said cafe, I realized I’d left something crucial behind – my computer charger. For those who don’t know, my computer is a precious old lady computer that I got the month before college and poor baby can’t function for more than 40 minutes without being plugged in. Given that I was a few miles from home and would have wasted almost an hour trying to get home, get it, and return, I resigned myself to notebook brainstorming.

The words just weren’t coming though. I kept reworking the same paragraph as the day before, unsatisfied with everything about it and worried that it didn’t send the chapter on the right trajectory. In my frustration, I messaged a friend of mine who’s been hella supportive of my writing endeavors and expressed how horrendously depleted of ideas I was feeling.

Scott understands me.
Scott understands me.

That was when said friend sent a text that changed the course of my night and the chapter…

When I lose all momentum or motivation playing piano, I practice backwards. Start with the last measure and work my way back. Any way that can translate into writing terms?

As soon as I read this, an idea popped right into my head as to how exactly the chapter could end, and then as if by magic, I had a vauge outline for the entire chapter (and the one to follow) within ten minutes.

I. Was. Floored.

I think that’s the outrageously exciting thing about writing. You can do it for most of your life, think you’ve got it all figured out, and then someone can say something as simple as “work backwards” and before you know it you’re realizing there’s a lot that you don’t know. Like I said in my post the other day, sometimes you need to stand on the desk to see things in a new way, but sometimes it takes going a step further. Crawl under the desk. Look out the window. Leave the freaking room, for goodness’ sake. There’s an infinite number of ways to approach writing – like most things in life – and honestly the sooner I just embrace that, the better off I’ll be.

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How the universe probs feels when talking to me…

As I was completing my outline, the place I was writing in was closing for the night and so I began making my way back to catch the bus home. This was when randomly, out of the blue, a friend of mine called and invited me to go out to dinner, and I figured, why the heck not. But as I ended up waiting for him to come pick me up from where I was at on South Broad Street, I decided to whip the notebook back out and do something that probably looked weird.

I began writing and videoing myself writing right there on the street. I got some odd stares, but it felt strangely liberating to pick a piece of street I’ve been on countless times before and try to look at it with new eyes, to look at it through the eyes of my characters and think things like how would they be inspired by this space? So I guess I really got two new write spaces for the day, which is pretty awesome. (Which was followed by a freakin delicious late dinner and drinks with my friend at Applebees, which was pretty awesome too)

Moral of the day: listen to your friends, and think outside the box. It helps. It really helps.

PROJECT WRITE SPACE

TODAY’S TIME & SPACE
10:06pm, 16th & Chestnut Starbucks

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11:35pm, Broad & Sansom Streets

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Camp NaNo: Day 9

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 213

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6474

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

Gosh dang darn it
Gosh dang darn it

It would seem despite my efforts I’m still stuck. Frustrated Elayna is frustrated. I managed to get out about a paragraph and a half of my fourth chapter, but for whatever reason I keep hitting a wall there and committing the cardinal sin of NaNoWriMo – editing as I write.

To give some context to those less familiar with the month long writing challenge I’m partaking in, the goal is really just to make the words happen. Get something onto a page or your word processor, and worry about the rest later. Reckless abandon writing would probably be the best way to describe it, but instead I kept writing something and erasing. Writing it again, and erasing it again. This is an extreme NaNo-NoNo as there’s always time to edit and refine later. NaNo is about getting something to work with. One of the best ways it’s ever been put to me was actually by a TV/film writer – who’s written for Doctor Who & Torchwood among other things – that I met at last year’s GeekyCon. His words are what I have to remind myself ever time I find myself staring at that God forsaken blinking line on Microsoft Word, I remember:

You can’t fix a blank page.
– James Moran

It’s the truest thing I’ve ever heard where writing is concerned. There’s nothing you can fix about nothing, but there’s always something to be fixed about something. My problem at the moment is just throwing caution to the wind and letting the ideas flow, something that seems to happen a lot less in the second week of NaNo, at least for me anyways. Week one usually be like…

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I’m writing words! DO THE SUCCESS DANCE.

And then week two rolls around and that writer life be like…

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WHY DID I CHOSE DIS LIFE?!?!

The NaNo struggle is real, but here’s to hoping tomorrow brings with it a new idea to get past the week two blues.

As for today’s WRITE SPACE, plans to go somewhere else were thwarted by a massive thunderstorm that rolled through, so my space ended up being my blanket fort (which my instagram followers are pretty familiar with already). It made for an interesting atmosphere, the likes of which I would have previously only existed on some dream-like Pinterest board: cozied up in a comforter with lights in my fortress of blankets, the sound of rain and thunder rumbling outside my window. I wish more words had come of it, but honestly, I’m not too worried about it. If there’s on thing I know, it’s that in a story, rain always represents that a change about to happen.

PROJECT WRITE SPACE

TODAY’S TIME & SPACE
10:30pm, Fort Kimmy Targaryean (My apartment)

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Camp NaNo: Day 8

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 0

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6261

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

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2 day 0 streak = LOKI ANGSTTTT

There’s nothing quite as frustrating for a writer as waking up feeling like this…

GOING FORTH TO WRITE ALL THE THINGS!
GOING FORTH TO WRITE ALL THE THINGS!

But you end your day like . . .

WORDS, Y U NO GET WRITTEN?!?
WORDS, Y U NO GET WRITTEN?!?

That was pretty much my experience. While much like yesterday, this was a day in which I did some GREAT brainstorming, there’s just something so disheartening about seeing that little number on your NaNo stats bar stay the same for a prolonged period of time. I know there’s still plenty of time for that little guy to soar, but sometimes you just find yourself wishing the story would just fall out of your head and onto the page without you needing to do a dang archeological dig through your consciousness, just to find a tiny piece of what you’re looking for.

Ya feel me, Indy?
Ya feel me, Indy? #TheStruggle

As for this being my first day doing WRITE SPACE, I decided to keep it a little close to home and went to accomplish my brainstorming-not-quite-writing in the 12th Floor Lounge of the building I live in, which has the most KILLER view of Philadelphia. We’re talking, sweeping, epic view here . . .

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S: What’s that shadowy place over there? Me: That’s Camden, Simba. You must never go there.

It was certainly a good place to go to get me thinking big picture, which is really what most of my brainstorming was about. I came up with some really good pieces of backstory for some of my newer characters, which has been super exciting given that some of the characters in this story are pretty old and familiar to me by now. It’s really been such a remarkable experience already to finally sit down and try to tell a story that’s been in my head and my heart since I was 13, and I can see in the words I’ve written so far that the story isn’t the only thing that’s grown up – I certainly have too.

PROJECT WRITE SPACE

TODAY’S TIME & SPACE
9:50pm, 12th Floor Lounge of my apartment building

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