Thursday, 30 May 2013

My darling muse (the real life one!) AKA why I can't write...

Yes, yes, a lot of writers have muses. I'm with them on that. I appear to have a muse, a sort of personification of what little talent and inspiration for writing that I possess. She's a finicky creature, my muse, and often leaves me when I'm trying to write things - you know, important things like a chapter I've been procrastinating on, or an essay that I'd really like to get done.

So if a writer tells you they have a muse, believe them. Trust me, I have a muse, but it's a slippery devil and, right now, has decided to leave me alone with absolutely zero will or talent for writing. Also, something about the fact that I leave my house at 7:30am and arrive back at 6:00pm most days probably has something to do with that, too...

However, the topic of this post is a different muse of mine. A real life muse. One who's inspired me to write since the day I met him. Now, without going into too many details about this guy, I can safely write a boring post which I expect no one to read about him and why he's very interesting.

The main reason why my particular muse is interesting to me is because of how fascinating he is. He is not an attractive man, I grant you that; too thin, too old, too gangly to be of much attractive value save anyone who's actually interested in his bewitching personality. Of course, this all sounds batshit, and it probably is - but crazy or not, the man has a certain quality about him that just causes me to churn out reams and reams of writing; poems, short stories, novels, plays. Most of them are crap, but the few I like were all inspired in his presence.

For example, I finished Inamorata when he was around, and I got the idea for The Storm-Grey Sea when I saw him for the first time again in months. I've written the only poetry I actually like - poems from the perspective of a pair of former lovers - when I've been around him.

It's strange, really, because he doesn't even know I write. He's clueless to the effect he has on me in that way. Hell, he's probably also clueless to other effects he has on me, but those ones we'll leave out for the time being...

Why I bring this up is simple: I am without my muse, and am finding it difficult to write. I have had calls for an Inamorata sequel, and definitely others for a few one-shots, but how the fuck am I supposed to get anything done without something to inspire me? The hunt for a new muse is going terribly, with absolutely no one the right fit for a muse for Niamh.

So this general post has really been an excuse: I can't write because I'm without my muse. Goddamn it, I am trying my damndest, but it's nearly impossible. Never fear, though - I will see him again and hopefully get back to writing.

Toodle-oo for now, and I shall remain this crazy until next time.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Confessions of a pleasant writer turned bitchy whiner (and why I try hard to fight it).

Spoilers and bitchiness ahead! Tread with caution!

Yes, it's true. I can get very bitchy, especially where my writing is concerned. I see people commenting on my story with things like "Good story, but Nightingale should have ended up with David, not Robin" and, rather than thinking:

"Oh, they have a difference of opinion from me. How very interesting. I am so glad they took the time to read my story and comment. Oh, yes. I am so pleased that it at least got that comment. I will take their feedback into mind when I write other things."

I usually end up thinking something like this:

"Hey, you think that Nightingale should end up with David, do you? Well you can suck my dick, because I'm the fucking writer and my word is law when it comes to my stories. Oh, and you've just commented on the last chapter to say how disappointed you are? Lovely! And you've just suggested how you would do it? Exquisite! All your comments are negative ones, without any positive things? How ingenious! Hey bitch, here's an idea: how about you write a goddamn 135,000 word story and end it however the fuck you want? OH WAIT. YOU CAN'T. YOU CAN'T EVEN SPELL YOUR COMMENT CORRECTLY. So shut your fucking mouth about saying you know best because if I want to have Nightingale end up with Caroline you better shut up and trust my judgement. I'm the fucking writer, and I have nearly 2 million reads on my story and though that still makes me a nobody in the grand scheme of things, you are even more inconsequential!  So you can fuck right off and go read something else, you illiterate twat."

Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. I've very rarely wanted to call someone an illiterate twat, but still, the feeling's there. Now, I've got no problem with constructive criticism. I'm not an author, and I don't pretend that my writing is anything superb, so I welcome people pointing out flaws in my writing with the intention of helping me. That's awesome. Helping people is great, and those who do it, rock the fuck on, man.

What I don't like is mindless asshattery. Let me put it this way: if you can't do it better, shut your mouth. Because if you come onto my story and say how I should be writing it, and your story is entitled "The Player and the Nerd" with two reads and one chapter, I'm going to get pissed because guess what? Not only is my story objectively better than yours, it's - newsflash! - MY STORY. I'm not telling you how to write yours, you know. And if I don't have something nice/constructive to say, I don't say it. There's no point in saying "this story is a piece of shit" and then just sort of breezing off. That's like walking up to a random stranger on the street, kicking them in the nuts, and then walking away like nothing ever happened. Don't. Do. It. Because. It's. Not. Nice. Or. Polite.

Writing is like anything in that regard - I do it my way, and if you don't like the way I do it, you can do it your way. But you'd better keep quite about it if you don't want to do it your way, 'cause I don't have time for assholes.

Moving on: the worst part about all this is that I used to be a pleasant writer. I used to be nice. Kind. Caring. I have now descended into a ball of bitchiness and whining, and that ain't nice. So, having now explained my feelings, I'm going to apologize for them.

I'M SORRY I'M SUCH A BITCH. I am trying to mend my ways and I anticipate that, in a few days, I will be back to what I hope is my pleasant self. Sorry.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Historical fiction must be historical!

I love historical fiction. I cry with joy when I read a beautiful piece of historical fiction, something that makes me feel as though I've been dropped into the time period and am suddenly immersed in an era of horse-drawn carriages, sailing ships, beautiful dresses, and delightfully tight trousers or breeches on men.

What I HATE is inaccurate historical fiction. It drives me up the wall. There are several main things people royally fuck up, and it drives me absolutely bananas.

1) Titles. Not every woman is "Lady So-and-so". Lots of respectable women were "Mrs. So-and-so". There are a shit ton of titles, and you should get them right. Here's a handy Wikipedia link that explains titles for the nobility, the gentry, the commoners, and the clergy for the UK:
Keep in mind, these titles have changed, and so you might want to do more research should you be writing pre-1700s.

2) The way the characters speak. You read a sentence like this: "forsooth, my lady, thou do not know what I ate for breakfast this morning you saucy rascal". HOLY. MOTHER. OF. GOD. No one spoke that way. Ever. Even Shakespeare, though he wrote things like "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate", never spoke like that. Don't believe me? Read his prefaces to his poetry. Nobody ever talked like that ever, so don't write your characters like that. "Miss Marlowe, you are a wicked girl and an impudent rascal, and I shall have you flogged" is fine, but "M'lady Marlowe, thou are a tyrannical trollop and you are totally bad, and I'm going to beat thee" is not.

3) Ships. Sailing ships. IF YOU CAN'T TELL A HEAD FROM A HALYARD, don't write about them. Don't write a pirate love story (oh dear God, what is it with people writing awful pirate romances?) without knowing anything about a ship. I don't think you need to name all the points of sail (irons, close hauled, close reach, beam reach, broad reach, running, in case you find yourself sexually attracted to ships the way I do) just to show off, but if you're writing about a captain on a ship, make sure he (or she, even though there's like a 0.0000001% chance of that happening), would say something like "lay aft here" instead of "come talk to me". Also, pirates, though they existed, hardly had the glamorous life depicted in fiction, so get a little more creative. Write about the navy men of the age of sail. They're just as hot, and their uniforms are to kill for. Just do your research, landlubber - the floor's called the deck, all ships are shes, and "hard a-larboard" is a direction, not a sex move.

4) Fantasy stories. They aren't historical fiction. Unless you've actually written a story that's about medieval history, it's not historical fiction, so get it out of that goddamned tag. Fantasy is great - Game of Thrones, anyone? - but it's not historical fiction. The only fantasy story I accept as historical fiction is the Temeraire series. And that's because that's two awesome things, dragons and the Napoleonic wars, combined.

It's easy to do research. Just look up the era you want, use Wikipedia or something, and look up clothes, titles, and the necessary props. Remember: effort is everything. If it's not perfect but you've tried your best, that's what counts.

And so help me, if I see one more story with a "Lady Cat", I'm going to punch myself in the face.