Tag Archives: blog hop

Why I Write

Today I’m participating in a blog hop called “Why I Write.” Thanks to Síofra Alexander for tagging me in her brilliant intensely personal entry. She’ll be a tough act to follow.

The demon's eyes are upon you now.
The demon’s eyes are upon you now.

I started writing lyrics when I was twelve years old. My early efforts were journal entries confined to rhyme schemes. They overused hole/soul, skin/within, and love/above way too often. While I spent my teens singing my feelings, something strange started happening. I found myself asking a question that had less to do with what made me tick and more to do with my imagination: what if?

What if aliens invaded by posing as demons?

What if a cyber mob drove a girl to suicide only to find her ghost haunting them online?

What if a man discovered his depression was actually a person in a parallel dimension where happiness is frowned upon?

What if an exorcist challenged a possession victim to a drinking contest and the final shot was spiked with holy water?

The answers to these questions didn’t fit into a verse chorus verse structure so I let them float back up into the ether. I passed on my ideas, only to see them watered down in other mediums. I’d be playing a video game and realize it was using one of my ideas badly. If only I’d put it down on paper and gotten it out there.

Every one of us has a marquee full of blockbusters in our brains, but so few will ever get to share them. For many, the only time they share their ideas is to fill a lull in conversation, their story might be a fan theory for a franchise that’s already in production, or it might be something that shouldn’t be forgotten.

What if?

I started writing because I wanted to answer that question.

Sometimes I posed it in a way that applied to my life, “What if I’d told her how I felt when it mattered?” Sometimes I let it venture outside the realm of reason, “What if I traveled back in time to tell her how I felt only to accidentally kill my past self?”

Either way, the question was worth asking, because…

Writing Gives You Super Powers

Look into the eyes of pure evil.
Look into the eyes of pure evil.

Stephen King says that writing is telepathy. Neil Gaiman calls reading a form of empathy. The process is a shared experience that turns the imagination into something tangible, something real.

Writing is time travel. It allows us to bring clarity to memories, to refine our past into stories, or to alter it to play out the way we wanted it to be.

Writing is playing God, sometimes cruel, sometimes kind, but always in mysterious ways. We build worlds. We break characters down. We do the impossible: we create a situation that forces a person to change.

Writing is immortality. It’s more reliable than cryostasis, less committal than vampirism, and cheaper than uploading your consciousness to a server. It’s a way of telling future generations, “I was a thing. I happened. I may be gone but my thoughts live on.”

How I Launder My Emotions into Writing

When I write fiction, I compartmentalize my emotions to keep them from changing my story’s events, but sometimes I just let them in.

Sometimes writing is the only way I can take control of my feelings. Paper seems as good a place as any to vent, to put my nightmares to work, to have a breakdown without making a sound. The page is a place for fear to pose its arguments so I can refute them.

I’m too frightened of public speaking to be a comedian. Fiction is how I smuggle my humiliation to an audience. It lets me laugh with them.

With all the social graces governing my behavior, sometimes writing is the only way my thoughts get out there. With all those tell-off speeches bubbling up inside me, sometimes I need a place to say the things I’d never speak. With my ego wounded, I need a place to chronicle all the power fantasies I use to inflate it.

I write because I don’t want those ideas to stop at my brain. I’ve got the foresight to write them down and the audacity to think other people should read them. Call it an inflated self image, call it delusions of grandeur, call it sociopathic narcissism. Whatever.

I know I’m not special. Anyone can ask, “What if this crazy terrible weird thing happened?” I just put my answers into words.

Daydreams are only a waste of time if you never jot them down.

Literary Kitty learns grammar
Literary Kitty learns grammar

Hope you enjoyed reading my long winded explanation for why I’m in this writing game. I nominate the following folks to answer the same question:

Mark Conard

Mark has written two noir novels: Killer’s Coda and Dark as Night. He’s coedited several collections on how pop culture intersects with philosophy, including The Simpsons and Philosophy, The Philosophy of Film Noir and The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers.

On Twitter @MarkTConard, Mark takes the inspirational quotes authors use as filler tweets and adds things that change their tone, like “and shit” or “bitches” which he uses to punctuate Shakespeare’s dialogue under the hashtag #ShakespeareBitches.

Jessica West

Jessica has one novelette and two short stories for sale on Amazon, and her blog houses a massive library of Flash Fiction, this is because Jessica participates in every writing challenge known to twitterdom. I have lofty daily word count goals and Jessica regularly kicks the crap out of them.

Follow her @West1Jess to find out what she’s working on.

Honorable Mention: I’m a big fan of @fredamoya‘s answer to this question.

Writing Process Blog Hop

Demon Dog

Last Monday, I was invited to answer some questions on my writing process by @West1Jess. Check her entry on her answers at Write this Way.

1) What are you working on?

I’m writing a story about an abductee forced to aid her captors in hijacking her online identity. Cameron is one of many college students corralled into cages, marched out whenever her captors need information. She suspects they’re intercepting money transfers from the students’ parents, staging murder suicides when they’ve tapped all their victim’s funds.

What her captors didn’t realize when they took her, is Cameron is an aspiring author. She’s been hyper-blogging, tweeting up a storm, building up a massive following, a following that requires constant maintenance. Looking at all of her accounts, they realized they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.

Forced to pose in couple selfies, Cameron is paired with a boy who’s lied about his sexual orientation online. He hopes the friends he’s confided in will see these photos and know that something’s wrong. Cameron realizes her captors are staging this relationship for her followers. They’re using it as the reason to explain her shrinking online presence, and to setup her inevitable end.

Together the mock-couple conspires to screw up their captors’ plans.

2) How does your work differ from others in your genre?

Writing horror and urban fantasy, I’m not interested in using ready made monsters. Zombie stories are a dime a dozen. Vampires have been devalued, shelves are filled with books by different authors that use the same lanky cover models. Abandoning Victorian era villains, I aspire to invent entities for the age we live in.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I write the kind of stories I’m hungry to read: Twilight Zone fan fiction. I’ve always been attracted to heightened realities where symbolism is made flesh. Sometimes I use fantasy to cope with real world problems. Rather than approach subjects directly, I come at them askew. Anyone can write a journal entry about being lonely, but it takes a twisted imagination to write about an NSA agent using their tech to stalk someone.

I write a lot of what-if scenarios like:
What if a landlord tried to evict a tenant who was possessed?
What if the boss from hell didn’t realize he was interviewing an ancient Sumerian Demon?
What if someone’s future memoir started narrating their life in the present?

4) How does your writing process work?

I’ve stopped drafting. I used to write character bios that answer questions regarding their religion and their upbringing, now I like to discover those things. I call this “Writing Commando.” It’s writing without the tight binding underpants of scripted events. This method keeps me interested. Sure, I have an idea where the story is going in the back of my head, but that idea is fluid. You’d think I’d get writer’s block going at stories like this, but whenever I get stuck I ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen?” Conflict usually does the trick.

Hate to break the blog chain, but I’ve been too busy to reach out to too many folks. If you’re interested participating in the Blog Hop on March 4 drop me a line in the comments, include your bio, post your answers to these 4 questions on your blog, and I’ll edit this post to point folks in your direction.