Saturday, May 30, 2009


Today, we are talking about descriptions. This was a recent discussion on Absolute Write and it got me thinking. When you are in school, they teach you to over-describe and put adverbs and adjectives everywhere. It's not good practice for fiction anymore. You can't get away with it. So, put it out of your head, for now. No adverbs. They are cheap and easy. I don't write cheap and easy, well, at least I try not to.

Sometimes, it's easy to get into lengthy descriptions about surroundings. But let me just say, unless your readers are from Mars, then they know what an oak tree is. They know what most kitchens and bathrooms look like. So, what about description?

Well, for the most part, it needs to be interweaved with the story, not thrown down in long chunks of prose. Build your world slowly, in sips. It's more natural.

Your characters don't notice their surroundings constantly, so why should the readers? Most human beings take their surroundings for granted, especially the familiar ones. By all means, if this is the first time your character has ever seen a certain object/place/person, describe a little. But only a little. Don't over-do. Since it was the subject of the conversation on AW, let's use the kitchen as an example.

I don't describe the kitchen or anything else unless I have to. I describe the things that are important. I mean really, how many ways can a kitchen be? If you let your readers get to know your character well enough, they know what color the kitchen is. Or a rough estimate. World-building isn't descriptions. It's making your character, and through them your readers, interact with it. They know it's there. It's safe to assume that if they are getting coffee, that they have a coffeemaker (or instant coffee). We don't need to know anything more than the character's actions. If they are painting a room, fine. Mention the color. Have the characters talk about it. Why are they painting? Why did they pick this color? But always ask yourself if it's important. If it's not, then there's no point in it being there. If they are just painting the room to be painting it, do they discuss something that helps with the plot? That's always an option. Does something happen while they work? It's not always about painting a picture. In fact, it's not painting a picture at all.

For me, description is only a little bit of information to allow the reader to assume the things you (the writer) want them to. That's all it needs to be. You needn't add into the story that the cocker spaniel has brown eyes. All cocker spaniels have brown eyes. It's unnecessary. We writers need to stop assuming everyone else on the planet isn't as smart as we are. In truth, they're are probably quite a few that are smarter.

My point is, describe what needs a description. Loading down your manuscript with pointless words is only going to make your job harder when it's editing time. Editing, however, is for a different post.

That's it for now guys.

Peace & Love

Thursday, May 28, 2009

sex & sexuality

Hehe. Bet that got your attention, huh? Now, as you may have figured out, we are going to talk about sex today, but not like you probably think. I'm making my comments not for shits and giggles, my friends. This is a serious post. Sorry.

I'm so sick of people treating sex to different extremes. There's the: Sex is like the plague! extreme. And then there's: Sex is just a thing. Have a lot of it with a lot of people.

My view? I think sex is personal and intimate. I think this world was a lot better of a place when people thought sex and sexuality were best left where they should be: behind closed doors.

Opinions on sex vary and have varied in society for years. It's gone from something to be discreet about, to something shameful and nasty to something all people should indulge in with anyone they wish. And we all wonder why disease runs rampant.

Way back when sex was something special that happened after you were married is strangely the same damn time period when people had some fucking respect for themselves. I don't know about anyone else, but my worth will not be measured by how good a lay I happen to be.

I am worth more than how fuckable I am. I have standards. I have respect for myself and my body. I've been fucking the same man since I was 15 years old. Maybe I was too young to have sex. I dealt with the consequences. I am raising my children with their biological father, so I figure my choice in partner was pretty damned accurate... even if we were just kids.

I think discretion with sex is a needed thing. Can we stop acting like it's nothing? Are our children nothing? Didn't think so. Strange, though, how we treat the very thing that creates a child with such flippancy.

Sex is not just another thing to do. It is not a cure for boredom. It's a naturally occurring phenomenon between two people that is wonderful and can have wonderful results (You know... like having a KID!). But, unless we want brothers and sisters having children together, we must stop acting as if sex is just a meaningless act. Want me to prove it? Fine, mother fucker, fine, as someone once said.

Woman A has spontanius, wild, drunken sex with man A. Woman and man A use no protection. Man A and woman A never see each other again. Baby boy is born to woman A.

Meanwhile, Man A goes on to marry Woman B. They have baby girl.

Woman A marries Man B. Man B decides to adopt baby boy so his birth certificate no longer has a blank line after "father's name".

Baby boy grows up. Becomes man C.

Baby girl grows up to be woman C.

Man and woman C both go to same college.

Man and woman A were too drunk that night to remember who they procreated with.

Man and woman C fall in love, get married and have children.

Now, does this sound like responsible people? No. Does it sound realistic? Hell yeah, it does. It's sad, and it's sick, but fucking true. And what about all the adopted children? Think about it. There really are only so many people in the world and unless you are having one night stands in another country...

Being responsible doesn't mean making sex shameful. But teaching our children to respect it for the beautiful catastrophe it is might be a good thing.

I tell my daughter that her body and virginity are treasures, precious. I'm teaching my children that sex comes with responsabilities. They are not too young to know what sex is. They understand the mechanics of it, and the results and risks. I firmly believe that my kids will make the right decisions.

But then again, I bet my mom thought that too.

In an age where young girls think desirability means looks and wildness, "Just how far will she go, I wonder" I fear for our society. I fear for our children. And our future. Why? Because as little as sex means now, imagine how desensitized the next generation will be.

I don't remember a time when you only fucked who you married.

I don't remember a time when a grown man still felt fear if he thought his daddy was going to catch him touching a kid the wrong way.

I don't remember a time when sex was special.

I don't remember a time without AIDS.

I wish like hell I did.

Peace and love, y'all. I hope.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Horror Hound

Finding others like you is no easy task, especially if you are a writer with a very... different turn of mind. We all know what I write. (Horror! Yeah!!) We know why. What you don't know, is how I got there. Well, now is as good a time as any to tell you.

My mother taught me to read when I was 3. She would read old Louis L'Amour westerns and teach me a bit from each chapter. By the time I was 5, I was not only reading books for myself, but I had started telling people little stories I made up. My parents called them my "tall-tales".

My mom had this book with a shiny silver cover that I wanted to read just oh-so-bad. But she told me no. In fact, she told me if I read it, she's ground me for a month. I was 7 then. She handed me, instead, JRR Tolkien's works, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings set, and the Silmarillion. My 8th birthday was about two weeks away; she had bought me the books as a gift and told me once I could read those, she'd let me get adult fiction from the library and school. So, I hatched a plan.

I read the books, but by the time I got done with them, summer had arrived and the school library was closed. So I waited. The big library ended up in me not getting the book with the shiny cover--Mom was always with me-- getting it from school was my only chance. That fall, I turned 9 and the Book-Mobile started it's rounds.

It was just too easy. The lady that drove the big van with the books inside simply asked me if I was sure I wanted it. I told her I was absolutely sure. She looked at my card, saw my mother's signature at the bottom of a scribbled permission for higher level reading material and signed the check-out card.

That evening, I went home with Stephen King's The Shining carefully hidden in my book bag. I didn't sleep that night, but not from fear. I gobbled up that book the way a greedy kid would do candy. And I fell in love. Every time the Book-Mobile came around, I checked out another King novel. With my allowances, I bought his books from the Book Exchange, where you can get used hard and paper back books for a couple of bucks.

I'd already been writing for my own amusement. But it wasn't until much later that I actually realized that writing horror was for me. I started writing seriously when I was 12 years old, as some of you may already know. But, I didn't write a single horror story for a long time.

I started writing horror when I was 17. I had been writing for about 5 years, taking stabs at different things to find my literary home. After a YA romance, a western romance novella, and quite a few fantasy attempts, I tried out thrillers. It wasn't so bad. I got mid-way through my new thriller, then I had to stop.

Another story was poking at my brain and, at the time, I hadn't learned to compartmentalize my thoughts so I could keep things in their place. I stopped writing my thriller and started on a novel entitled "Blood and Water". As soon as I began, I felt normal. I felt like I was at home. I knew that this was the place I belonged, a love I'd had since I was 9.

It wasn't a bad novel, considering I was 17, had quit school the year before and was writing on nothing more than passion. Reading it now, I can see the naivete in it, but it's the first horror piece I ever wrote and I love it as much then as I do now.

I've since wrote Science Fiction and other speculative genres, but I am a horror gal. It's what I write, what I love. And believe it or not, it's what I'm good at. Looking at some of my other stuff, I can see for myself that they are no where near as strong as my horror works. But, that's okay.

I'm happy to write horror, happy to be a hound of the macabre. The Absolute Write Horror Hounds have given me a place to feel welcome and I've found others with minds as sick and twisted as mine is. It makes me feel all cold and moldy inside, like we horror people should (That is just a joke... the whole warm and fuzzy thing).

So, my friends... let us get under your skin. Let me and my fellow Horror Hounds tickle the scare gland in your brain. You can find many of them in local bookstores or online (You won't even know it, but they are there, I promise). Let us scare you. It's what we do. Maybe what we were meant to do. You won't be sorry... or who knows? Maybe you will be.

Peace and Love, y'all

Monday, May 11, 2009

The bells, the bells...

You know what I love? Having an unconventional, but extremely good, idea. I have one. Just one, mind you. For now.

But my bells have started ringing and I think this is my breakout book. No, not in publication, I'm just breaking out a bit more myself. Sorry, no pubs from me for a while, but when I do, people, you'll almost be the first to know. Surely at least the third... or fourth... I'll let you know eventually, I really will. I even promise, how's that?

Right now, my current WiP (which means work in progress, c'mon get with damned program already!) is going fairly well. I'm on the third chapter already and have only been writing for two days. Not bad, if I do say so myself. I usually take a lot longer to get past my first two chapters. I'm making progress. Maybe not good progress, but I'm working on it.

Now, this is a very delicate matter. Wait for it... I haven't even started yet, people, sheesh! Anyhow, I want to ask you something. Listen close now...

Do you hear them? Can you hear the awful sound of the bells? That terrible, terrible clash, reverberating through your entire being? If you don't... well, maybe someday you will.

Ding dong, ring a ding ding and the whole schlemiel.

I'll be talking about this quite a bit, so stay tuned.

Peace and love, y'all