Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fuck this! (aka: The Writer's problem)

This is actually not the first time I've dipped my feet into the waters of writing. Why have I returned, you ask?


I'm real good at talking to my friends and helping them come to 'epiphany' moments. "Oh, I realise this was what was getting me down," or "Damn, I really didn't think about it like that, but..." 

My partner is this really inspiring man who sees what he wants in front of him and immediately starts taking strides towards getting it. This isn't without faults -sometimes he pushes too hard, sometimes he falls too low when someone tells him he's dreaming too high- but he takes this stuff in stride, and keeps going. Always keeps going. I kinda look at him in awe. 

A good friend just posted the list of Hugos and associated prizes winners, and I realised, I want to win Best New Writer one day. That friend and I have come up with a harmonious deal between us that we will keep each other posted and then keep out of the way during each others' chosen years. 

A friend that I work with has just released a book of short stories on Kindle.


I've had it in my head for so long that I'm not going to be a 'Worthwhile Writer (TM)' unless my work is picked up and recognised by a publishing house and, because of that, have sat there on my thumbs and done very little about it. 

This is particularly daft because I have been picked up and e-published over in America several times and, for the last five years, have belittled that achievement because 1/ it was genre writing, and 2/ it was e-published. 

Then there's this stigma about self-publishing that this exists even though it seems to become less relevant the more technologically savvy and e-book reader reliant we (even in Australia) become. However, that stigma seems to be mainly to do with the quality of editing that these self-published books have. 

It was already so hard to get yourself picked up by a publishing house when I was in high school; it's about a hundred or so times more difficult these days. And then, even if/when you get picked up, there are the internal politics of most publishing houses that will put the books/authors that are more known against the unknown writer of dubious sales. I've even heard of someone's book being accepted and then never published, though the house ended up keeping the option for the rest of the two years of the contract. 

Don't get me into the fact that, in this day and age, any aspiring writer -or any writer at all, really- needs to get hip deep into their own marketing/publicity side. Again, unless you are a well known author, the majority of publishing houses just aren't going to do that for you. 

I look at all of this and I wonder what, really, is the good of waiting for a publishing house to sit up and discover me? 

I have these amazing contacts and friends from my e-publishing times, and have since made many more. 

I have a workshopping circle I meet with most Tuesdays, and several people who have either established proof reading business or upcoming ones. Hell, the number of people I've had offer just to read my creative thesis as experience for their proof reading business before the end of the year has astounded and flattered me. 

I have this wonderful idea for a series of hand bound chapbooks that I've been sitting on for almost a year now (okay, there have been reasons, and perhaps even this close to the end of honours is not the best time for me to be picking this up again but, so, whatever..)

Not to mention the many friends that have come up to me over the years and said that, if I ever do get any of my work published, even self published, that they want to read it because I'm one of the few amateur writers whose work they already enjoy. 

So, you know what? I have a goal ahead of me. And that goal is made up of a whole bunch of teeny tiny little steps that may, one day, lead up to that great big goal in the sky: Best New Writer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Times you realise your magic life is not appropriate to your actual life...

Sitting in the office of one of my university lecturers yesterday, I'm frantically scrambling to write down notes towards all the comments she's giving me on my essay outline for Tennyson's 'Lady of Shallot'.

There's a pause. Either she's gathering her thoughts or she's waiting for me to catch up with my note taking. I don't really care which one as I'm using the time to scribble down the end of my last thought before she starts talking again.

"You're going to have to explain why the Tower does not signify change..."

And then my mind does something like this:


.... before tuning in again to realise that what she's actually talking about is a comparison between the tower and Camelot in 'The Lady of Shallot', also known as the topic I'm writing my essay on.

 I thank god that the only thing that signalled this break in my concentration was my pen pausing over the piece of paper I was writing on, before kick-starting back into note taking.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Melissa Marr and polyamory.

I just recently purchased one of the signed hard cover editions of Darkest Mercy, waiting patiently -and sometimes not so patiently- for it to be shipped over and arrive here in Australia. When it did arrive, I hugged the book to me for a while, and then commenced reading it. Had I not had work towards my English Honours to get done, it would not have been closed again before I finished it.


I was raving about this series online last night, but the re-tweet I just received that acted in reply to a separate question just about made my morning.

Me: @melissa_marr did polyamory!!! An author of YA fiction did polyamory without stuffing it up!! 
Melissa: Belated reply 2 "what r the boundaries in YA?" RT: @persephone20: "@melissa_marr did polyamory!!! An author of YA fiction did polyamory..."

Two things are amazing about this. One: an author that I think a lot of -and would love to study next year in regards to the re-emergence of faerie fiction, particularly in YA fiction- read my comment and replied to me, and Two: it feels like times, they may be a-changing.

That a YA author would not only just bring out a series of books where a polyamorous trio featured as part of a main section of plot, but would then announce that it is a boundary that can easily be crossed in YA seems like a fantastic step into the future for me.

For a while now, I have been looking with dissatisfaction at the common 'love triangle' trope that seems to appear again and again and again in both books and TV shows in the YA genre. Lately, that trope's been becoming a little bit more interesting in such TV shows as Glee where one side of the current love triangle is a girl who's in love with her best friend (another girl).

I guess for me, seeing polyamoury being written into a book like this, without fanfare or controversy, feels to me like I imagine it might have felt to others when the first gay/lesbian couples started appearing in novels as just another option on the kinds of romantic relationships that can be had between people. In Melissa's books, this touching relationship was shown as neither good, nor bad, but just as three people who happened to all love each other individually, having many of the same concerns within that trio as would be had between a couple.

In short: Go Melissa. I think you're doing a great job and I cannot wait to get my hands on the last of the manga books in your 'Desert Tales' series.