Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sparks!

Now Playing: The Killers - The Man

Thanks to Overdrive, I've loaded up my kindle with a lot of super popular YA series that are a romance first, fantasy/sci-fi second. And I bet this has been discussed before by other readers in a wide variety of genres and it's not like I didn't know about this cliché before--

But what the hell kind of crazy kissing/caressing are people doing in fiction? Why do they feel "delicious"  electricity coursing through them when they touch? Why are kisses flaming hot and igniting them? And what about that is supposed to be appealing? It's tragedy when hot pizza burns the roof of my mouth and I've burned the tips of my fingers with matches before. Why would I want making out to set me on fire?? Or freaking electrocute me? Light static shocks are bad enough!

Bad metaphor.

Monday, October 2, 2017

October writing plan

Now Playing: Marilyn Manson - Kill4Me

It's about time I go back to using self-imposed deadlines.

I don't know what the hell is going on with this version of Millennium Girl, but I'm on chapter 31  of the rewrite and am still not done. It's the same story, but it's been stretched and modified so much that I'm terrified to see what the current word count is or how much is gonna have to get cut next round. Rewriting has been tough, tougher than I ever imagined, and it might get even tougher because I have no idea if the next draft will involve extensive editing or if it'll be another major rewrite.

I'm scared.

But I'm also done with delaying it. I'm giving myself until the end of October to wrap up this version of MG. And if you know what November is for a lot of writers, you know why I'm doing this.

I wrote a full outline for Death Awakens (side note, I hate this title more and more as time goes on). If I keep planning it rather than writing it, I'm going to lose interest. Now that I've got character and conflict perfectly mapped out, I'm going to dedicate November to banging out the first 50k words at least. I'm unsure if I'll be able to win or not. I've only won one NaNoWriMo and that was because of borderline obsessive camping out at the Dunkin Donuts closest to FSU and an insane amount of caffeine and sugar consumption. I don't know if I'll manage again, especially now that I somehow have less money for coffee shops.

But I can barely remember what it felt like to write a first draft. I miss how freeing it can be to just ramble on eternally on the page and not worry about what works, what doesn't, how ugly that sentence is, or how the word choice is getting away from me. Future-Becca editor hates the antics of First-Draft Becca, but First-Draft Becca is the reason I'm a writer. I can't wait to get there again.

If I don't finish Millennium Girl in time, I'll probably still attempt NaNoWriMo with the witches book, but it might not be nearly as enthusiastically. I don't want the bigger, older project hanging over my shoulders the whole time, wrecking me with guilt because I'm not working on it.

I'll check in later and see how it goes. If I have to lose a couple nights of sleep, so be it. I'm in desperate need of deadlines.

At least I managed a tiny first step of many: I updated my NaNoWriMo account with the new project! Here's the link, and here's the mega-short synopsis:

Once upon a time, three witches were born. Lola, Bruna, Jessica. Life would bring them together, but only Death herself could unite them.  
Death is just like them; disillusioned, dangerous, vulnerable, vengeful, easily amused, easily amazed, full of love, full of hate. Just like them, Death is a teenage girl.

Thankfully we got a new The Neighbourhood EP and a new Marilyn Manson album so I've got playlists at the ready. Also Chuck Wendig's Miriam Black series and Dave Cullen's Columbine for inspiration.

And Pinterest.

Can't forget Pinterest.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

10/19 EDIT: And then the story became even stranger

I'll leave this post up, though I guess I'm back to being mostly skeptical. 

Still. It made me think. 

About an hour after writing last week's post, I ended up stumbling onto a Tumblr ran by one of my Goodreads friends where he does chapter by chapter analysis of books or reviews movies. Amidst the book and movie stuff, he'd been reblogging posts from another user who mentioned she'd acquired an agent and was talking about her publication journey so far. I was intrigued, wondering if maybe it was another Goodreads friend or something, and I clicked on her page and went through the F.A.Qs.

And it was the verified writer of the most notorious fanfiction in the world, My Immortal.

I didn't know she was verified at first. Her FAQ didn't make that big of a deal about it, it was just a passing mention. (When I pull up her Tumblr now, it's not even there anymore.)

I spent the next hour combing through articles and interviews, Twitters, Tumblr posts, etc. It didn't occur to me until way later to check the Wikipedia and Goodreads page and find they'd been updated.

I gotta admit, I had the same reaction a lot of people seemed to have: this feels... Weird. I think we all thought we'd live and die never knowing who the author was and not knowing if we'd been trolled hard or if it really had been a strange teenage girl who'd wholeheartedly written the fanfic in earnest. (There were so many theories, so many possibilities).

The odd thing is, I'd heard news about the My Immortal author resurfacing in the wake of the Handbook for Mortals controversy. I'd heard she'd done so to claim she had no association to that mess. But I hadn't believed it was real. Other people have claimed to be the infamous Tara Gilesbie in the past and to do so while trashing on Lani Sarem seemed like something an internet rando would do for fun. (And not that I'd advocate trolling, but Sarem would deserve it).

Turns out it was real. Rose Christo is (or once was) Tara Gilesbie. Raven was real too. She was a foster sister of Rose's and they wrote My Immortal together as teenagers.

I did sometimes wonder about who Tara might be. I mentioned in the other post that I don't often think about authors in the now--I think of the beginning of their publications journey, mostly because it's the only aspect of publishing that I'm obsessed about. But I did think about Tara often, wondering how she felt about the fanfic in the presetnd day, sometimes imagining--if she had been trolling--she was having a good laugh at how insane we'd all gotten trying to crack the mystery behind the authorship. Of course most of us had assumed the whole thing had been written as a joke, but there'd never been confirmation till now.

I always pictured her as this blonde, white girl with pig tails and black lipstick, growing up in an upper middle class household in some boring suburban neighborhood. Without realizing it, I was trying to make her as ordinary as possible. Most of my guesses about Rose Christo turned out to be incorrect.

She's had a harder life than any of us could ever imagine, and she's publishing a memoir titled Under the Same Stars. I'll get it off audible as soon as it releases. It's about the fanfic, but it seems to be more about her upbringing, her family, and life in the foster care system. Now Tara Gilesbie the idea has disappeared from my mind. I can't even pretend to imagine what Rose Christo is up to in the now or what she went through years ago.

It's also odd how I used to think tales of the horrors in foster care were greatly exaggerated. Maybe because I wanted to have some hope in the kind of institution that's supposed to rescue children and put them in loving homes. Then I met Flip and though he was only in foster care for two years and was eventually adopted by a great family, he had his share of horror stories. It seems his experience was sadly not uncommon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bygone

Now Playing: The Neighborhood - Noise

I've developed this new hobby where I utilize the Internet Wayback Machine to see what different author websites looked like at different times of their publication journey. Mostly I discovered that Stephenie Meyer used to be a hell of a lot more active at updating her site with tour pictures and book news (like when she was just starting to write The Host). I try to imagine what the authors were thinking about at the time, how the fandoms looked (huge, growing, sparse), and what they were working on or worrying about for the near future. Then my mind picks up traction and throws me into a whirlwind of "and then this happened and this happened and this happened" but I never let my imagination take me to wondering what their present day lives are like. That's not nearly as fun.

(I find it amusing and sad that right before the craziness of peak popularity or on that first wave, there's always a, "sorry I haven't gotten to your email, I have a bit of a backlog but I'm working through it" message on the site or author blog. Then you go check the present day site and there's no email, no place for fan mail, usually just a Tumblr or Twitter if you're lucky.

It makes me sad because email seems much more intimate, you know? But I haven't heard of email correspondences in forever. Mostly people text or use WhatsApp. I miss my email buddies).

Today, during one of those trips to the past, I remembered years ago I stumbled on the site of Nancy Stouffer, the lady who sued J.K. Rowling for copyright infringement and then got rightfully laughed out of court. Googling her name now pulls up the Legal disputes over the Harry Potter series page on Wikipedia and then a couple news articles, the TV tropes page, and some old reviews. But no website.

Because I couldn't remember the URL to type up on the Wayback Machine, it took a couple minutes of digging around to find it: realmuggles.com. But I'm guessing because the site doesn't exist anymore, Wayback Machine kept giving me a server error every time I tried to search it.

I did find an archive of it eventually through a direct link. I'd remembered some of her bizarre wording almost perfectly.

Like this request:
"WITNESSES COME FORWARD: 
If you are, or were ever employed by J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Inc., Arthur A. Levine, Time-Warner Entertainment, Thurmanhouse, Landoll Publishing Company, McGraw Hill, Ratner and Prestia, O’Melvney & Myers, LLP, or Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klien & Selz, P.C., The United States District Court, Southern District of New York, and/or Judge Allen G. Schwartz, or any other individual, or firm that may have been, or is affiliated with any of the above, in any way, and you have any information that may be important to, or give assistance to Mrs. Stouffer, your help is needed."

Or this introduction:
"Consumers have strength in numbers, and can choose to make a difference. I believe that when they take the time to see the facts as they really are, they will be moved to take action. 
It is my firm belief that there are parents who will choose morality over popularity created by hype. Choosing morality can give children the benefit of a lesson that will serve them well throughout their lives, rather than the alternative, a temporary fix for boredom delivered by way of unclean hands and blackened hearts. 
It is also my intention to keep the public informed of the events taking place concerning my properties, and the seemingly, never-ending battle to maintain my rights of ownership under the law."

She mentions in that introduction that she's received letters and emails of encouragement through her legal battles, and while I'm sure there probably weren't that many, I have no doubt a few must have been genuine. I mean, one of my coworkers tried to show me YouTube footage of "real" mermaids captured and talked about how the FBI holds them and is prodding them for information and keeping the Coast Guard looking for them in secret--

Yeah, people believe all kinds of crazy things. More so when they think they're in on some big secret.

But the first time I read the stuff on her site and even as I reread it now, I can't help but wonder if maybe she ever convinced herself of her own lies. So much of it had to be fabricated and was proven to be fabrications, so surely when you're constructing transparent lies for the full intent of deceiving and exploiting others, you'd know what you were doing, right?

Or did Nancy Stouffer lie enough to convince herself?

I do wonder about her now, what she's doing in the present, how she justifies or thinks about the lawsuit. Does she still see herself as the victim in all this?

In any case, this kind of lawsuit doesn't seem to be all that uncommon. Copyright infringement lawsuits (in all media, but especially against popular authors) keep popping up in my research binges into the past (and a little bit of the present).

Knowing that is more depressing than imagining a truly, beyond-help deluded 2017 Nancy Stouffer still fuming at the injustices of the world.
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.