Friday, September 11, 2015

Authors are People, too

I've been totally stalled in the fiction writing department lately. Probably from the stresses of my infant being nearly ready to walk and having an entire house to pack up before we move across the country in less than two months. Sleeping has been an exercise in frustration, so I'm feeling far from refreshed or overflowing with literary potential.

However, I'd been doing a good job of writing a little every day and I want to keep up with that habit. So here comes some blogging, y'all!

While trying to figure out what I could pop into a post that would be interesting, informative, and not too terribly wordy, I realized why I was having so many issues maintaining this blog in the first place. When you're an author, there's this immense pressure that all things in your life must revolve around the written word. You must sit around daydreaming, sipping expensive lattes, and spend your entire day clickety-clacking away on the keys as you pen your next masterpiece (or scrawling in elegant script in your Moleskine Journal, if you like keepin' it oldschool).

But the reality is this: authors are people, too. We have lives outside of our Word documents. We have children, pets, spouses, hobbies, and other interests that have nothing (or at least very little) to do with writing. What are my other life-consuming tasks? Well, my children are at the top of the list. Then I have a house to upkeep. And a dog, cat, and some fish to care for. We also have a vegetable garden that needs occasional tending. My next largest clock-eating activity would be crafting. Sewing, knitting, crocheting... Doesn't matter which. I love them all. I'm the kind of person that likes to make something with my hands, and be able to view my progress.

With all this digital technology, I don't get the same kind of satisfaction from a finished or lengthy document that I used to. With a typewriter, you could see each page add to the pile, growing as the story went on. Now, you can scroll from top to bottom with a keystroke, even if your story is 400 plus pages. I'm no George R.R. Martin, so I'm not going to revert to using an ancient piece of machinery to finish my works or anything. However, I found a bit of a middle ground that helps me sometimes when I hit a slump. Rather than getting out a notebook and pen, I have a tablet computer and a stylus for it. Combined with handwriting recognition software, this means that I can physically write the words and have them popped right into text without the added time-suck of having to type up what I've literally penned. I suppose that makes all this new fangled tech both a bane and a boon.

What's the takeaway from all this? Next time you're chomping at the bit because you just devoured a brand new novel in a day, which took an author a year to perfect for you, remember that--while they DO love and appreciate your fervor--sometimes they've got other things that need to get taken care of before they can shove you into that pool of the glittering fantasy world you've fallen so madly in love with.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Classism and Horror Cinema Collide

I just finished watching the movie "Would you Rather?" From the sudden rash of movies like this, movies where the ridiculously affluent take advantage of the disadvantaged with a "Would you like to play a game?"that's very reminiscent of the Saw franchise, it brings a multitude of questions to my mind. Firstly, why do I keep watching these garbage horror flicks, when I already know the outcome, and it involves nobody winning? Secondly, I feel like maybe these movies are setting us up for some scary shit in the not-too-distant future. For instance, some whacko with endless disposable income really making people of a lower social class compete for a hefty chunk of change. Oh, wait. You mean they already made that a reality show, called "The Briefcase"?*

You're probably thinking that anyone greedy enough to participate in such a game is deserving of whatever misfortune befalls them. Were it greed just for the sake of money, I'd be inclined to agree with you. However, wanting that money to take care of your family... I find that to be a perfectly legitimate cause. 

Regardless, this brings me back to my point. When it comes to things like this, does life imitate art or vice versa? By making films, shows, and books about these situations, are we perpetuating the idea that it's ok? That this should be socially acceptable? 

As the population of the world grows to ever more unsustainable heights, and the separation between economic classes becomes more pronounced, does it make sense for the social elite to cull the herd? Are they doing the world a favor if they do, or are they committing heinous atrocities against their fellow man? And with the increasing gaps between classes, can you even call someone in the upper and lower class "fellows"? 

Lots of things to ponder on. The movie just got my writer brain working, I suppose.

Guess Who's Back?

If you mentally finished with "Back again. Shady's back. Tell a friend" then you're probably nearing your thirties, or already well into them. I find that my husband and I have a weird tendency to fall into quoting old Eminem songs inadvertently while having totally unrelated conversations. Anyway, rap music that's no longer socially relevant aside... It's been a hot minute since I came around the website, much less actually wrote a blog post. 

Long story short, life with an infant and a toddler is insane. I'm lucky enough to be able to stay home with my children, but all the glorious time to write that I assumed this venture would afford me was clearly some insane fantasy concocted by the midnight unicorns that prance around my sleep deprived brain pan. Apparently they were smart enough to hop on the ark when Noah was ready to set sail. (Bonus points to you if you can name the tune I'm referring to.)

Coffee-guzzling zombiedom of motherhood aside, I've been getting the urge to put pen back to paper, and let the incessant babblers in my head get their stories out of me so they'll shut the hell up. Silence is golden, unless you have a toddler. Then silence is horrifying and suspicious... 

For those of you just tuning in, meaning you've never read my work or are a recent follower, I'll give you a bit of an intro to me. My name is Randi, but my wordslinging moniker is R.A. I'm a lover of music, and you'll see it often as an element in my writing. I have a bad tendency to get 90 million ideas all at once, start them all, then get so bogged down that I leave them in limbo. I want to teach myself to write shorter fiction pieces, so I'm going to give some anthology submissions a shot. I want to write a full story in 10k words or less, not just send in the start of what will likely be another abandoned series rotting on the shelves of possibility, waiting for that fabled "someday" when my children will be old enough that I get two seconds to hammer out some words while they're awake.

My primary series is The Ragnarok Legacy, a paranormal saga that throws together werewolves, Norse mythology, the local music scene, vampires, magick, and an unfortunate girl caught up in all of it who has to make a tough decision.

But in my mental story bank, there's a series with a magically inept witch who runs a cupcake shop and accidentally summons a demon (Sisters Rasputin), another series starring a hunter of supernatural creatures who've overstepped their boundaries(Eater of Hearts), and a steampunk/sci-fi number starring a saloon girl trying to keep her family's ranch from going under (Clockwork Heart). We won't even get into the short story ideas milling around and slamming into each other like bumper cars...

If any of that seems interesting to you, I hope you'll stick around and check back in frequently. I love conversing with any reader of my work, or fellow writers! If you're an avid reader and want to get insider info, read things before the general public, and have a chance to win swagalicious goodies (now gluten-free!), drop by my street team group on Facebook. The Darqling Brigade is in need of some new recruits.