Tag Archives: stories

Polarizing Author Thoughts: Prologues and Epilogues

Polarizing Author Thought for your Thursday:

While there are exceptions to every rule, and I’ve definitely read a few in-the-dawn-of-time narratives that didn’t need to exist, prologues contain valuable information that enriches the reader experience but could not be obtained through the prescribed narrative perspective of the rest of the book/series. You don’t HAVE to read them—no one is forcing you—but you are missing out if you don’t. Full stop. You are missing out.

EPILOGUES, on the other hand, are useless, pointless, and unnecessary. Yes, I know that was redundant; I feel that strongly about it. I don’t want to be given a tidy, satisfying ending, then be slingshot ahead five years to A. have that rug ripped out from under me or B. overdo the “happily ever after” by giving us Albus Severus Potter, named after the two most toxic people in the parents’ lives (after Umbridge, of course).

And I think, that is the problem, more than anything, is putting information into an epilogue that either changes or dictates the reader’s overall experience of the story. If you are of the belief that Dumbledore and Snape were villains in Harry Potter’s story—and an overwhelming number of people believe that—it might make you angry to find out he then named a child after them. Showing us that glimpse into their future takes away our choice as readers to decide for ourselves how we feel about those characters, when he could have named him Ronald Neville. Even naming a child after Draco would have been less polarizing to the fandom. Draco Cedric.

That got a little off-track, but I really, really hate epilogues.

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Just Buckle Down and Do It

I’ve been in a holding pattern for . . . several months now where literally nothing is getting written. I’m thinking about what I want to write, like, constantly, but when it comes time to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, and get the job done, I have nothing.

I don’t exactly have nothing in the literal sense of the word. I have a lot of somethings that don’t add up to anything.

Meme, reads: My main problem as a writer is that I don't write because "I have a story to tell." I write because there are worlds I want to visit, ideas I want to explore, people I want to meet, conversations I want to hear, emotions that I want to express, and impossibilities I want to make real. Which means that I still need a fucking plot.

This is the truest thing on the internet at this moment. I have characters I really kind of like. I have snippets of this and that. I have somethings that don’t add up to anything. And that’s almost more frustrating than having actual, literal nothing.

I can’t nail down a setting. I don’t want to set another series in Denver or even Colorado, but I feel uncentered trying to write an urban fantasy in a city I only kind of know. Would I like to go wander around Chicago the way I learned my way around Denver? Yes. Do I have that kind of time? No. Is Google Street View an acceptable substitute? Not really.

I am not connecting with the characters. I have a pair, Val(erie) and Roxy, who I decided to approach from a kind of Sherlock and Watson angle where Watson (Roxy) is the narrator but that puts me in a place of disconnect where everything that happens to Val has to also happen to Roxy otherwise she truly is just reporting it after the fact (telling, not showing . . .). So while I kind of like what I’ve written in that style, it’s not sustainable. At least not for me. And they’re the ones I’m having the least amount of trouble with.

But the biggest problem is, as the meme suggests, I don’t have a plot. At least nothing I think is good enough to pour my focus into. So, instead, I’m writing nothing. Which is also a thing I don’t like.

As writers, we have a dozen people in our ears, at any given moment, telling us, just buckle down and do it. Write the damn book.

I’m here to tell you, sometimes it’s just not that easy.


What do you do when you can’t even figure out what content to produce to keep yourself entertained?

I have lamented this on here before (which is part of the problem) but I don’t know what to share with people. I have no interest in producing MORE writing tips or editing tips; the internet is saturated with them.

I don’t feel like I get any engagement from behind the scenes content–research bits, character sketches, that sort of thing–and lack of engagement is the quickest way to reinforce my belief that I am a boring human.

I think that’s it, ultimately. I am boring. People tell me that I’m interesting, that I have a lot to say, but when I ask them for guidance, they just repeat themselves. “You’re not boring!” Okay, but I think I am so tell me what it is about me that makes you think I’m not boring? Maybe the thing that you find interesting would be interesting to other people. I might still think it’s dumb but at least having someone say it’s interesting to them gives me hope that I just think I’m boring because I have to spend all day every day listening to the same stupid stories.

I know that those same stupid stories are new to other people and I can’t accurately gauge their entertainment value. But in this case, no news is not good news. No engagement IS engagement. No engagement is rejection of my offerings from the vox populi.

Sometimes it’s an algorithm thing. But my anxiety doesn’t understand that word. My anxiety says, “No one liked this, that means it was terrible. Whatever you do, do NOT repeat this.”

If I post too many more of these, this is going to be my brand. At least in this arena. WordPress is going to start marketing me as the Debbie Downer who has nothing valid to say. Because I keep presenting myself in that light.

I have things to say. I have A LOT of things to say. I’m just not sure if anyone wants to hear them.

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Building Something Unique

I have set a goal for myself to promote my work to readers. I understand that writers are also readers but readers who are not writers, I feel, are less likely to be interested in things like editing tips and tips for developing characters or writing good dialog.

Not to mention, it seems like every other writer thinks this is the way to go with their platform building. Cater to other writers. Share your tips with other writers. So doing that makes me feel like just another bark in the kennel.

But I don’t know what to do—outside of sharing stories—to cater to readers instead of writers, or to cater to the reader side of other writers.

Obviously, sharing stories is important but I also don’t feel like I have the mojo to do that consistently.

I’ve been mining my old work, finding anything I think is worth sharing again. But I’m also quickly running out of old work to share.

Ideally, I would just write, all the time. But I need the connection of being around other human beings in order to keep my creativity flowing. And lately, that connection has been a source of nothing but frustration and irritation. Which is not nurturing. Not at all.

I don’t know the answer. I just want to stand out, be different and original, not blend in with what all the other writers are doing, while still doing things that will resonate with the people I need them to resonate with.

If you are interested in finding out more about what I AM working on, find me on Patreon, Instagram, and TikTok.

Campaign against pink

October is breast cancer awareness month in the US. Which means a flood of pink around the nation.

Each year I make an effort to explain, as gently as possible, to explain why I refuse to participate.

On October 1, 2016, my cousin, who was eleven months older than me and one of my best friends in our teens, came to me at the salon with a request for mermaid hair. Blue fading into green. A few days later, another friend of hers shaved it down to a three foot mohawk. Eighteen months after that, she was gone.

That day she came to me, she had been diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer. In the summer of 2018 she had traveled out of state to follow one of her favorite bands – because she never stopped loving life – and passed out at the show. When she got checked out from that, they found more than forty tumors in her brain.

That first day in 2017, we talked about the irony of starting treatment in October and how we felt about BCA month.

Here’s the reality.

Ten percent or less of the money raised by Susan G. Komen is actually funneled into researching for treatment or a cure. Fifty percent or more of the pink merchandise sold in stores is just that – merchandise. It supports the companies selling it, not breast cancer research or patients. Ninety percent or more of the campaigning for BCA is geared toward woman and fifty percent of that is sexualized. Campaigns like Save the Tatas ignore the human. And breast cancer is not gender specific. Men are just as susceptible to it as women.

So, while I support breast cancer research and survivors, I refuse to participate in the onslaught of pink without purpose. I don’t judge anyone who does participate but I won’t.

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