This is good to remember as I struggle with figuring out what exactly I can offer to the book publishing world. Do I have anything to offer?
by Kathryn Craft
Turning Whine into Gold
In response to a tweet promoting a recent Twitter submission event, I received the following response:
“To put it delicately, f*** the agents and editors. Never pander to what they’re looking for.” (Asterisks mine.)
I would like to thank this “delicate” tweeter. His 92-character comment is so chock full of negativity and cynicism that it will easily power three blog posts here. I delight in the opportunity to turn this kind of whine into gold.
Since it is conference season, this month I’d like to address this tweeter’s obvious assumption that agents and editors are “those who are trying to keep him from publication.”
If you suspect this is true, yet are still planning to pitch to these individuals at upcoming conferences, your hidden thoughts are simply abrading twitchy nerve endings in a way that could result in hives the moment…
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Definition of the problem is the first step to finding the solution. Searching for everything, for nothing, for something other than this purgatory I am in.
That is what it feels like.
The firm ground I was once on is gone. Shifting sand, sinking peat moss. I jump across continents as my thoughts run away like a horse spooked by the wind through the trees.
That’s how I think dissimilar thoughts strung together to the point that the impossible becomes this kalidescope of overused metaphors and similies and I wonder if maybe everything has been done before.
Experimental writing, is it really experimental or maybe it is just recycled, reused and reduced to nothing but a former figment of favored fantasy.
To the point that nothing makes sense and I am trapped in a room full of looking glasses and I know that I can’t escape even though I have a lead hammer that breaks those mirrors but they rebuild as soon as they are smashed.
Then I wonder why I even bother. I’ve dug this huge hole of ridiculous situations and I can’t seem to turn around and go back.
When did this good girl become so messed up inside?
The realization of how broken I am makes me want to curl up inside a little hole and never ever move again.
I’m tired of being stuck of self reflection and the realization that reflection does nothing but make you second guess everything you thought you knew.
It amplifies things like ADD, PTSD, Anxiety and Narcolepsy.
Did you know I get panic attacks when I enter social situations? Sure, I hide it pretty darn well, but I have to battle the desire to run away. Even at church I have to fight the desire to leave the parking lot before I enter the building.
When did I become so lost?
I write the first sentence over and over and over again hoping that it will bring me to the last sentence but then I get distracted and can’t seem to remember the way I was going.
I have this innate refusal to plan and yet I need the structure.
Home, security and the feeling that something is real, solid, not going to change unexpectedly.
Are all things that I’ve lost and now I am a boat with no mooring.
I lost faith in life and I need to believe but how can I believe when I think believing is a lie?
Can’t edit real life so why the fixation on editing the written word? Mistakes made and maybe that is all life is.
Mistakes and then living in the Reflection of those mistakes.
Good to know
Most authors who use mythic elements in their work are familiar with the hero’s journey structure introduced by Joseph Campbell in the 1940s. Campbell’s sequence of steps in a journey from beginning to end has been criticized by some for missing important aspects of themes, contexts and cultures, and over-used by others to explain the plots of all movies and plays. Nonetheless, it’s a handy structure.
Authors who want to write fairy tales have a similar sequence worthy of study in Vladimir Propp’s structuralist approach to fairy tales that suggests all tales follow a similar sequence even though each tale doesn’t use all of the thirty-one steps. In addition, Propp says the major characters in fairy tales usually include a hero, false hero, magical helper, dispatcher, villain and donor.
Like the hero in the hero’s journey schema, the hero in a fairy tale is sent out by a dispatcher (wise…
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Poetry promotes positive pondering
It’s National Poetry Month, and you’re probably thinking: “I should really read more poetry. But where oh where do I start?” Well, sound the trumpets, because here is Flavorwire to the rescue! After the jump, you’ll find a list of 50 essential books of poetry that pretty much everyone should read. There’s something for everybody here, from the deeply established canonical works to riveting, important books by newer poets, from the Romantics to the post-modernists, from the goofy to the staid. NB: as with other lists like these, only one work per author has been included, and there is a bias against the “Collected Poems of” unless necessary. Obviously, inevitably, painfully, there are many, many poets and works of poetry, both of great renown and less so, that are missing here and should still be read by everyone. This list can only reflect personal taste, chance meetings, and wild subjectivity…
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In the middle of the Wyrd Mountains was a small mining town. It was completely unremarkable, even the dwellers knew that they had no hope of being remembered. The only source of entertainment was a rickety old building that boasted the best ale for one hundred miles.
One stormy night during the second month of The Dark two old hags sat in a shadowed booth in the very back of the tavern. One cackled to the other as they cast lots. The one with more warts sucked in a breath and met the eyes of the other. Something flickered in their pale, milky eyes and they recast the lots. The result was the same.
“It cannot be, no it is!” The warted one said to the other.
“Yes- I” Silence snapped through the room when the heavy oak door banged open. The wind howled and the fire snaked away from the hearth. It quieted a moment later. A dark figure strode into the tavern and with a flick of her wrist the door slammed shut.
“So, they have been born. The lots do not say where.” The smooth faced hag said to a mug of tea.
“Shhhh… She is here. Do not let her know.” The warted one said as she swept the di into a small velvet bag. She tucked the bag into a fold of her cloak. They watched as the dark figure walked to the long serving counter. A babe cried out from behind the bar. The bar maid’s face drained of color as the cloaked figure dropped her hood. The figure had long ebony hair and creamy skin. Her face was devoid of age marks, yet her eyes held the wisdom of someone who’d seen many centuries pass.
“Your greatness, I’m so sorry.” The blonde haired bar maid said. She was skinny and her hands fluttered like birds trapped in a cage as she reached for a rag to wipe the wood in front of the dark haired woman.
“Your son, how old is he?” The Great Witch of the Wyrd said as she caught a glass that jumped to her hand. An amber bottle tipped its contents into the glass and then returned to the shelf behind the bar.
“He’s but a year. Please, please he’s all I have.” The maid leaned on the counter but looked down at the chipped wood. The rest of the patrons looked at each other and when the Great Witch looked at them chatter once again filled the room.
“The darkness is getting stronger. The times are changing.” An old miner said to a young lad. They tipped back their mugs draining the contents. Both stood up, then pulled on heavy wool coats with more than a few patches. They left the tavern and were followed by everyone except for the two old hags.
“Do you think you can offer him everything he needs? I can sense the magic in him. You cannot teach him how to control it. Look here, if he stays with you he will be dead before his fifth birthday. Your father will kill him. Sell him to me and I will make sure he becomes everything he is supposed to be. Here, this is more than you will ever make.” A large bag of coin thumped onto the wooden surface. The bar maid’s eyes widened and she reach down. In her arms was a bundled baby who gurgled happily. The Great Witch reached for him and the maid gave him up.
The warted hag felt the di in her bag jump and jiggle and she looked at the other. Tonight, more than one thing happened that changed the mind of fate. They watched as the Great Witch looked down at the squirming babe. “Lucas, I love you!” The maid said then gasped and clawed at her throat. The bag of coin disappeared and the maid dropped to the ground.
“You are Lucilius now, a name that suits your rank. Hags, you have been warned. Do not interfere with my plans.” The Great Witch stared through them all but her violet eyes disappeared as a black puff of smoke flared around her. A moment later the eyes were gone. The room was eerily quiet.
“We must go and consult with the other hags.” The smooth faced one said.
“What of the Millie, she is your niece.” The warted one said.
“She’s dead. There is no use helping her. She made her choice. Now, we must make ours. To ignore the signs or to do what must be done?” They shivered as the wind howled. The shadows crept along the edges of the room.
“We must consult.” They stood as one and left the tavern. As the door closed behind them a shadow monster appeared, licked its lips, and devoured the maid.