Sunday, February 12, 2012


So here it is, the plan for the book inspired by friends and acquaintances on Twitter. I hardly slept last night, so many thoughts were flying around in my head. I have come up with a few guidlelines to make this project both feasible and realistic. Please feel free to comment with opinions/suggestions.

#mytwitterbook Guidelines and Requirements

Theme: The one that got away; the path not taken

Who is eligible: The ideas considered will come directly from my Twitter followers. People in my city and those I know IRL will be given preference if I end up with more responses than I expect.

How to send me an idea: DM on Twitter, email me if you already have my addy, comment here if you are already a Twitter follower and blog follower

What am I looking for: Bare bones of your (or someone else's) experience with the theme - can be in more than 1 DM, can have as much or as little detail as you are comfortable sharing

How will your story be used/what participation and/or rights will you have: I will use your story as inspiration, and will inevitably expand and add detail as I see fit. However, you will be kept up to date on license taken and will have input into the final product if you wish. You will not retain any rights, nor will you have control over the publication or sale of the story you inspired.

I may make this more formal as I go on. For now, I just hope I can get 10 responses. This is definitely the coolest writing project that I have been involved in - I can't wait to get started!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Intoxication of the Idea

Tonight on Twitter I fell into a conversation with 2 people from my city. The conversation grew and evolved as we laughed and teased about my wip.

Then one of them, @KevinMacKenzie, offhandedly mentioned that I should use some of their ideas sometime. Like a compilation of 10 short stories from 10 Twitter people with a common theme. It hit me like a revelation.

I could do this. I want to do this. I got that high that comes with the first few moments of inspiration...and now I'm determined. I'm determined not only to write #mytwitterbook but to finish SERA first. I'm going to have a clean slate when I start this new project.

That, and the realization that I can make a pattern myself for the stuffed animals I'm planning to make, have made this a pretty good Saturday evening!

Flawed II. Writing as Confrontation

How many of you have seen the sweatshirt with “Be careful or I’ll put you in my novel”? I really want to read a book by the person who came up with that slogan – I bet we have some things in common.

I usually try to write unrecognizable characters, but sometimes I really want to insert verbatim that snotty exchange I just had with *friend/family member* into my wip. I want them to read it when it’s published and to hear themselves the way I hear them. I want to eviscerate them in my novel-world. I am Creator and Destroyer when I write, and as clich├ęd as it might be, with ‘great power comes great responsibility’. While I write out my rage and my tears, I am unstoppable and uncontrollable. In real life I can remain cowardly and passive-aggressive.

What’s the harm, right? I take my pain and my anger and I unleash it on people who only live in my head. This seems like a much better path than brutal confrontation, and it usually gets the job done. But what about later, when that character’s spiel or their unlovable traits or what have you become central to the story and it’s impossible to write them back out again? Those who write from an intensely personal place do so with the knowledge that they are figuratively airing their dirty laundry with the hopes that it will be read by the masses.
The masses are fine. What about that person who ticked you off/inspired you? What if by writing those words out, you have healed, forgiven, and moved on? Those words, one would hope, will live on indefinitely.

What responsibility do writers have to the real life people who inspire despicable characters? Is it remotely feasible to try and avoid writing recognizable personalities? I know from experience that some people in my life will ‘read themselves into’ whatever character they feel like. People (myself included) often have a very difficult time reading work by a friend or family member without thinking ‘Was that me? Are you trying to say something?’
Plausible deniability at this time is probably more worthwhile than a titillating scene…right?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Flawed. Writing as vanity and deceit.

Being by nature a writer I have enjoyed my (and your) fair share of introspection. As a returned-to-the-Church Catholic I have spent my introspective moments for the past five years focused on how both my actions and my intentions appear to God and my loved ones. I have also had to take a good hard look at my innermost ugliness, my vices, and my faults.

I have many failings. I probably have a heck of a lot more than you do. But then, if you've spent as many years screwing up as I have, you may give me a run for my money. I have many failings, but (please ignore the wordplay as I struggle to be honest) only a few major weaknesses. All of my sins, my failures, my regrets come down to a few massive character flaws.

Vanity and deceit. Deceit caused by vanity. Vanity leading to deceit. Healthy imagination. Creating a social persona. Maintaining and defending said persona. These are my major flaws. (People who know me would almost certainly add others, but I have a feeling that, followed to their core, I would discover them to be due in some way to vanity and/or deceit.) So I know these things about myself, and I do my level best to keep myself from falling into my own traps.

Writing is the one area of my life where I can give these flaws full rein and not face consequences irl. My imagination is then allowed to spin the most convoluted web of organized untruths that it can conceive, and my vanity can create a Me who is not Heather. That Me lives the life that this me cannot. She is prettier than me, smarter than me, friendlier and more popular than me. She takes risks that I can't even think of without a shudder. She is powerful in all the ways that I am weak. She is an expression of my vanity.

The other, more obvious, expression of that vanity is the thought that anyone, anywhere would choose to take time out of their busy lives to read the yarns I write.

Reading may be purely voyeurism, writing pure deceit, and publishing pure vanity. I don't believe that's all they are for me, but it's only honest to admit that in a small part of my psyche, that's the truth.