[sticky entry] Sticky: Welcome!

May. 2nd, 2012 10:59 am
gb_lindsey: (blue penguins)
Hello, and welcome to the writing blog of
G. B. Lindsey!
This journal features my current projects, publications as they appear, thoughts on the process, writing snippets, writing exercises, and observations of life in general. I hope you enjoy your visit!

UPDATE!


Check out the awesome cover reveal from Prism Book Alliance: read the excerpt, listen to the audio reading, enter for a chance to earn a free copy of the anthology!

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Represented by Saritza Hernandez ([livejournal.com profile] epubagent) at Corvisiero Literary Agency.

**Writer's block? Please visit my Writing Exercise Hub!
gb_lindsey: (ring the bell)
Hm.

One question for you, show, and I guarantee, if you can answer it, it will solve all your problems:

Why Jack?

Let's really think about this for a moment. Why did you choose Jack the Ripper as half of your main draw, and then utterly fail to utilize the unique, paralyzing horror of him to drive your plot? Raise your stakes? (All you people concerned about spoilers, do not fear; I only lasted ten minutes into the pilot. Which brings me back to my nitpick...) You have to grip me right from the get go. Hell, you already have me! I'm one of THOSE people, the kind that owns books like Ripperology and movies like From Hell, watched all of Whitechapel the tv series, and is unduly fascinated by the history of Whitechapel's most notorious serial killer. I know a whole lot more about it than I should.

Takeaway: You had me at Jack. And then you lost me because YOU didn't have Jack.

I mean, in the same amount of time, you've got HG Wells down: he writes, he's smart, he's got an effing time machine... He might not be like he was in real life, I don't know, I don't study him. But I'm interested, as far as the character goes. But with Jack, you introduce him with a murder that needs to encapsulate the monster he was... and you don't. Like, at all. Don't mistake me: it's a horrible murder. But it isn't Jack's. There is a reason he was the scariest sumbitch in the area and you did not even remotely capture that.

So I ask again: Why. Jack.

Because you're name dropping? Make up your own murderer then. Because you want the thrill without the actual baggage that goes with it? Make up your own murderer then! Because it would be a bad fit for the somewhat humorous tone you're trying to set? Well, hell. If you're trying to be funny, maybe JtR isn't the guy you need. (Incidentally, is this a kids' show? If so, I repeat: maybe JtR isn't the guy you need.)

So. WHY JACK?

I'm done. I need good time travel stories. Where did 12 Monkeys get to...?
gb_lindsey: (Hats off)
I just bought this: How to Write a Book Proposal

The story of how I got my agent is pretty unusual. I was straight out of my Masters degree, and feeling for the first time that actually selling what I wanted to write was possible.

(I went abroad and into some niiiiice debt for my degree. I love ya, America, but sometimes your educational system gets really snobby about what is acceptable reading fodder. The Great American Novel is not actually what everyone wants to read, ye ken? It's not actually the highest selling genre either, and it doesn't make you an amazing writer just because you wrote it. Thanks for brainwashing and demoralizing writer-hopefuls for years, but it's time to end that shit. You know how people always go, "But what are you going to DO with your writing degree?" It's time we all start answering, "Well, I am going to WRITE." /rocketscience)

ANYWAY. I first spoke to my agent because I was suddenly optimistic! OMG, you mean people will actually buy my romance and horror? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. I turned to a friend and writing buddy, [livejournal.com profile] diana_copland, and with much apology and profuse promises that I wouldn't poach her agent, I asked Diana if she could get me in touch with said agent so I could grill her about the publishing industry.

Saritza Hernandez, kind soul that she is, let me yammer at her for a good hour with all my "HOW" and "WHATSIT" and "WHEN" and "WHEREFORE" and "I LIKE WRITING SLASH" and "AND SOMETIMES ALSO THE HORROR KIND". She answered everything in great detail, thereby making me even more optimistic. She put it within reach, which for years I had been taught to believe was a pipe dream.

She asked what I was working on.

I said I had a second-person POV male/male romance short story.

She said, "Diana highly recommends your writing."

I blubbered around a bit and probably made little sense but I know I said thank you.

She said, "I'm not accepting submissions right now, but why don't you send me the story anyway?"

Look, I get it. I get that I did not match up with my agent in the usual way. And I REALLY get it now, when I find that I have no experience writing a pitch. Point in fact, I'm about to start pitching my next project as a thriller series, and I'm like, shitshitshit, synopsis, is this a good synopsis? What the hell do you mean, 1-2 pages? Effing log lines, IT'S ONLY ONE LINE HOW CAN IT BE STOMPING ON MY HEAD LIKE GODZILLA? But I like all my characters, I can't just describe two! How does this make no sense to you?? It makes perfect sense, you just have to read the novel!!

Hence, the purchase.

My match with my agent was primarily through networking. A very important part of marketing, that, and one that I still have to practice. But I unknowingly sidestepped so many horror stories: authors who went through four agents, authors whose book deals folded right at publishing, authors who got scammed out of their burgeoning baby manuscripts. Looking back, it's frightening: I never saw what I was being spared. Complete fool's luck. I count myself extremely lucky and privileged to have found Saritza the way I did.

Now I have to pick up the slack of my good fortune. Buckle down. Learn a thing or sixty.

But hey, maybe this research will balance out the file the NSA has, documenting all my inquiries into scalpels, landmines, plagues, psychoses, handguns, the FDA, and the city of San Francisco. >_>
gb_lindsey: (Hats off)
Alright, so you’re an author and you’ve just discovered: Horror of horrors! There are people out there WRITING FANFIC. They are borrowing YOUR world! Puppeting YOUR characters through plots you DO NOT condone! How very disrespectful, not to mention theftful. Is that a word? Theftful should be a word. We could totally convince the public that it’s a word.

Anyway, it probably feels like someone has rifled through your intimates drawer or sat in all your chairs or picked your kids up from school and taken them to the super cool theme park down the road for a day of awesome that you didn’t know existed.


Or maybe a week of awesome.

Wait, it’s been a year. ARE PEOPLE STILL DOING THIS TO MY BRAINCHILD???

Okay, let’s take some deep breaths here.

Whatever you’re thinking about these grabby-handed fanficcers, I guarantee you it’s been said before. There is so much negativity tied to fanfic already. So much. For the biggest naysayers, it’s all about destruction, violent deconstruction, and unlawful appropriation, not to mention lack of creativity. We’re just butting our heads over the same damn material again and again.

Therefore, authors, in the spirit of creation instead of demolition, I present you the following challenge (you like challenges, don’t you? You wouldn’t be writing if you didn’t…):

Instead of blaming the ficcers (who exist whether you bitch about them or not), let’s tackle the only thing you actually can control: Yourself. Your mindset. The way you look at what’s being done with your work. Because there is indeed a flipside to this grotty, devil-spawned sewer-dwelling coin you’ve been smacking repeatedly with a stick. (See note at the end for disclaimers.)


THE MISSING SCENE
(aka, that time when you wrote about two characters who drove from Place A to Place B, and then someone went and actually wrote the conversation they had in the car! The one that you skipped! Because of Reasons!)

Rude! I left that conversation out because it wasn’t necessary. Everything that could be gleaned from it is implied later, duh. Fanficcers must be unobservant sots.

But Wait... They are observant as hell. In fact, they are so observant that they needled through all your carefully placed clues and REVERSE MANUFACTURED how that conversation might have gone so that the characters ended up where they needed to. They cared enough about your writing to start analyzing it. They cared enough about your story to poke at why and how you could have pushed a character through it.

(For the record? That bolded bit in there is the lesson I want you to take away from this.)

A 'legitimized' Missing Scene fic: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, aka, the missing (and slightly whacked) scenes of two side characters in Hamlet.


Huh. That’s... kind of flattering. But wait, what about:


THE SLASH FIC
(aka, that time when your characters were not banging each other and then someone went and wrote them banging each other! They are not gay! Straight! Pan! Whatever!)

Rude! Excuse me, my characters are NOT interested in each other like that. They are too busy having a plot. They are not focusing on sex. They don’t look each other that way!

But Wait... Do they look at each other that way? Author, my most hearty congratulations: your story officially has subtext. Yes, I said subtext, that elusive underwater ripple that enriches every amazing plot ever. Your readers were so invested, so riveted in the interplay between your characters that they saw something there that deserved further exploration. They cared enough about your characters’ fates to wonder if they would ever walk down such a path.

A 'legitimized' Slash Fic:  A Study in Lavender: Queering Sherlock Holmes, an anthology of stories exploring the possibilities of queer relationships between a multitude of Holmesian characters.


Well, okay, that’s pretty nice, people caring about my characters. But hang on, sometimes they add a completely new character:


THE MARY SUE (or GARY STU)
(aka, that time when your characters met an awesome exchange student who is way too sweet and lovable and self-sacrificing and has all the answers and looks exactly like the fic writer and shows up just in time to kick ass, take names, and fall in love with the protagonist. What the hell, you have to fix my story by solving everything through a non-entity??)

Rude! Earth to Reader: if I wanted Poorly Concealed You in my story, I would have added Poorly Concealed You to the story, and cleared the copyright issues with Real You first. My characters can solve their own problems. They don’t need an interloper with perfect hair.

But Wait... Earth to Author: your reader loved your world so damn much that they wanted to live in it. Serious compliment.

A 'legitimized' Mary Sue/Gary Stu: Lost in Austen, wherein Random Modern Girl switches places with Elizabeth Bennet, gets Darcy to jump in a lake, and finds out that Austen’s story is more complicated than she thought.


Alright. It still makes me roll my eyes, but I guess that makes sense. But wait a sec, what about:


THE MODERNIZED AU (that’s Alternate Universe, btw)
(aka, that time when your characters were snatched out of Regency England and plopped into 20th Century America with absolutely no explanation and given cell phones and driver’s permits and fashion computer programs and wait, that’s Clueless, right?)

Rude! The reason I wrote this story in said time period is because this story takes place in said time period. You can’t just move everybody to a new era and call it a brand new story! The same shit’s going on to the same people, you haven’t created anything.

But Wait... That’s because they adapted everything. Guess what? Your story has staying power. Your story is thematically sound in any time. Your story was so strong that even transposed into another era with other values and other daily occurrences, it still means something. The lessons it contains still hold water. Readers still identify with your characters. YOUR STORY IS STILL RELEVANT. Yowsers, that’s like, Shakespeare or Homer or Marquez or Conrad or Gibran or Hughes or Achebe or Austen or Tolstoy or Bronte.

'Legitimized' Modernized AU fic: Sherlock (TV series, Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle), Bride and Prejudice (Bollywood movie, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen), Gankutsuou (anime, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas), West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare)… Look, just Google “modern adaptations of classics.”


Wow. I really do want my work to have staying power. But come on, why do they have to write:


THE POV SWITCH
(aka, that time when you wrote a story from one character’s POV and then someone wrote the same story from the other character’s POV instead.)

Rude! Hello. I chose that specific perspective for a reason. If I wanted to write multiple POVs, I would have. You got everything you need for the plot from listening to the one character. You don’t need to rehash it through the other one’s eyes.

But Wait... But what if they were struck so hard by that scene that they had to re-imagine it? What if they get that all confrontations are multi-sided and they respected your characterizations so much that they wanted to give the other person a chance to speak? What if they were curious about your other character? What if they just wanted to explore what that person might have thought while speaking whatever was spoken? Your character motivations are dense, layered, mysterious, and engaging to your reader.

A 'legitimized' POV Switch fic: The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (aka, what happened to Rochester’s first wife)


Yeah, okay, but that’s not what they do. Sometimes they change the entire conversation!


THE REMIX
(aka, that time when you wrote your characters starting and finishing a conversation and then someone wrote them starting the same conversation and ending up in outer space)

Rude! This is the only way this conversation with these characters could have gone. They each have a fatal flaw that leads them here. You are changing who they are.

But Wait... Your characters are well-developed, ergo they are layered, ergo they make choices, ergo they have complex personalities. Ergo, what if they’d said this instead? How might the entire plot have re-spindled off of this one pivotal moment that YOU came up with? Trust me, if someone is remixing your work, they are complimenting its depth and potential.

'Legitimized' Remix fic: Pretty much all of Penny Dreadful. Also, every time any anti-hero or antagonist ever got to tell the other side of the story.


Well, I definitely like knowing that my characters have depth and potential worth exploring. But seriously, do they have to write:


THE BACKSTORY FIC
(aka, that time you wrote a character at age thirty and then someone else wrote that character at age thirteen.)

Rude! I already know their backstory! I cut it out because the real story doesn’t start until much later! When they’ve grown! When they already have all their fatal flaws! When they are actually interesting!

But Wait… What about your character’s formative years do you not think is interesting? Maybe not marketable. Maybe even not important. But interesting? Hell, ficcers wouldn’t be fanficcing the backstory if they weren’t interested! Your ficcers are treating your characters like real people, exploring their agency and motivations. Why? Because you have already written the important story and in so doing, you gave consumers someone they could relate to.

A 'legitimized' Backstory fic: Wicked by Gregory Maguire (how the Wicked Witch of the West ended up taking the ultimate fall)


Fine! Whatever. I guess it doesn’t hurt, since they got some of it right anyway. But that’s no excuse for:


THE FUTUREFIC
(aka, that time you ended a story and then someone picked it up again when everyone was thirty years older.)

Rude! DO I EVEN NEED TO ADDRESS THIS? I ENDED THE STORY BECAUSE IT WAS THE END.

But Wait… Even you know that life doesn’t just end at the culmination of a character arc. Unless that character arc ends with the falling of an axe or the explosion of the planet or some other nonexistence-inducing situation, people still go on to live the rest of their lives after they marry/defeat the baddie/meet their parents/come back from war/etc. Again with the character love: your readers want to watch these people grow old together!

'Legitimized' Futurefic: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Elizabeth Bennet actually has a life after she and Darcy get married! Who would have ever suspected!)  or Hook (Peter Pan actually grew up!)


I could go on.

My point, author, is that fanfic exists and remains popular (and will remain popular no matter who jumps up and down on a grouch pogo and shouts down the mountains) because it allows its creators to further engage with, interpret, and celebrate the original works they love. Even more important, it allows these beloved works to be resurrected for modern readers, in whichever year “modern” happens to be.

There is no binary here. Fanfic exists alongside original canon. It does not change original canon. Your beloved baby still lives on in its pure form, to be discovered and rediscovered by still more consumers, who will want to engage with and celebrate it themselves and make it mean something to them, too.

Therefore, instead of expending so much energy on the negative, adopt the positive: try recognizing and accepting all the compliments fanfiction pays you and your canon every day.

Trust me, you'll be happier and less stressed.

(For some help with 'legitimized' titles, much love and thanks go to [livejournal.com profile] bookshop for her wonderful post: I'm done explaining why fanfic is okay. I put legitimized in quotes to indicate that it has been made legitimate by publication or other 'socially acceptable' recognition. In my opinion, fanfic is legitimate, full stop.)
gb_lindsey: (tree)
I am posting to apologize for a comment I made during Leviosa's Sunday panel on Adversarial Relationships. In response to the topic of canon HP characters currently being re-imagined as people of color and/or marginalized sexual and gender identities, I attempted, poorly, to discuss the ways this might make fandom experience difficult for individuals who use fandom as a way to set aside the weighty societal issues they face every day. I don't remember the exact wording of what I said and won't attempt to recreate it here, but after extensive soul searching and discussion with a close friend, I realize to my shame that my comments were entitled, naive, insensitive, and inappropriate.

The comment was supposed to be about the fans who don't want to view their fandom activities through the lens of social or political justice, who want to leave all of it outside when they go in, for whatever reason. But it definitely didn't come out that way. Instead it sounded as though I think issues of race, identity, and under-representation don't belong in fandom at all. Issues of discrimination in any form belong in the fandom, full stop. They are already there. People's discomfort with such topics is unimportant because discomfort doesn't dictate what must be acknowledged, and also very important because it is this inherent discomfort that must be addressed. It was not my intention to insult anyone, but that doesn't really matter either: as a white cis woman, I had no place making such a point in this way.

I wanted to discuss the importance of fandom as a safe and enjoyable space, which it is for me, but that really is the kicker, isn't it? As long as discrimination and under-representation are ignored in fandom, it isn't a safe and enjoyable space for everyone. The weighty social discussions keep getting shunted aside. We keep fostering ignorance of the problem.

I love fandom and I want it to be a place people want to be a part of. The re-imagining of canon characters is exciting, and the added bonus is that it brings societal discussion easily into the "safe space" fandom has created, rather than allowing it to continue to be viewed as a threat to the fandom experience. The more fans are exposed to something they fear or distrust, the faster they learn that they don't need to fear it, and the faster we bring it back home into everyone's safe space. Which is where it has always belonged anyway.

I made a mistake, and I'm very sorry for my comments. I'm trying not to shy away from these discussions because avoidance is currently the norm, and I don't think it's a good idea to avoid these topics. This dialogue needs to occur so that a lasting and constructive understanding can also occur.

But obviously I need more practice in how I approach the discussion. So I will continue to work at it. Thank you for your patience with me.
gb_lindsey: (Hats off)
Silliest stuff I've heard so far regarding ‪#‎GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend‬:


Concerned Citizen: Why do you have to change the comics?

Me: Uh, all those comics you used to read? Are staying the same. As in, not changing. As in, No Difference. As in, THERE WILL BE NO EDITS PERFORMED BY ANY EDITORS ANYWHERE.


Concerned Citizen: How could you do this? Think of the children!

Me: We are. You're the one who's making them think Captain America with a boyfriend is a bad thing.


Concerned Citizen: You can't just negate his relationship with Peggy Carter by making him gay!

Me: So your current relationship has officially wiped all your previous relationships from existence? That's impressive, I can think of a few friends who'd like to learn that trick...


Concerned Citizen:
I said, YOU CAN'T JUST NEGATE HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH PEGGY CARTER BY MAKING HIM GAY.

Me: Who said he was gay? Going with girls AND guys, who may or may not be cisgendered themselves, that's not gay. Get a dictionary and stop thinking in binaries.


So basically...

Concerned Citizen: I have logged onto social media and thus will now cease to think critically. Boop boop beep boop byooooop.

Me: Yeah, same o'l, same ol'.
gb_lindsey: (ring the bell)
If you’re anything like me, your evening on April 3, 2016 was spent staring incredulously at the television with one thought running through your head (or maybe you even yelled it out loud):

What the eff did I just watch?

Usually this is a great response to a season finale. Television producers around the world hope and pray and make sacrifices on altars for this kind of reaction. Unfortunately for the television show The Walking Dead, the crickets chirping in everyone’s TV room at the end of the episode were not the backdrop to speechless amazement. They were covering a very loud, very dismayed “Oh, HELL no.”

Many fans are… well, let’s be diplomatic about it and call them ‘unhappy.’ Let’s say they felt much more manipulated than usual. Loyalty of the ilk TWD celebrates is hard enough to come by; the merest misstep can send half the group over the wall toward friendlier pastures. And when the collective screaming gets too loud, the other half might just follow them, in search of a little peace and quiet.

I tell you, there was definitely collective screaming.

That said, and despite the events of April 3, I feel like The Walking Dead is not quite dead yet. The Walking Dead does not deserve to be thrown to the Wolves. The Walking Dead—well, let’s let the show speak for itself. Take a quick trip back with me through the years so I can remind you why you should (still!) watch the show:
(Yes, it's long. Yes, there are minor and vague spoilers. I had to write it.) )
gb_lindsey: (ring the bell)
"Great Scott, Holmes!" I ejaculated. "This is when my Jezail bullet migrated from my shoulder into my leg!"

Title: The Sign of Four
Status: First time reading!
Spoilers in this post? Yes

Ah, The Sign of Four. One of the most popular of the mysteries, and not having read it grew in my mind like a giant "WTF, you call yourself a Holmes fan??" until I was convinced I was missing a zillion pop culture references because I HADN'T READ IT. Turns out, I was right and wrong: I had missed references. But thanks to pop culture, I knew all the Holmesy info in the story already, as evidenced by the...

Memorable quotes:

"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" (For the record, he says it two times in this story alone.)

"My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere." (aka, should I ever become truly bored, THAT is when you should press the red button.)

"In an experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents..." (Watson, you dog.)

"It is cocaine, a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it?" (Holmes, you dog.)

"No, no: I never guess." (Three points if you know who says that.)

.......

While The Sign of Four has not displaced The Hound of the Baskervilles as my favorite of the Holmesian novels, it does, as its main character says, have its points of interest. For instance, in a beautiful case of evolving language, it is here in Ch. 6 that Sherlock Holmes gives a demonstration and John Watson first ejaculates.

Verbally. Shame on you, get your minds out of the gutter.

It is also here that Sherlock Holmes utters the following words: "Ah, of course. I had not thought of that."

Seriously, take a picture. It won't happen again until we get to Norbury. And finally...

IF YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT WATSON'S LIFE STORY, SPOILERS AHEAD.

.
.
.
.

This is the one where Watson gets married!!! Yay, what a momentous occasion! Finally Watson has found the one person that he-- what? Three marriages? And that's not including Sherlock, right?

John "Three Continents" Watson (and thank you, fanfic writers, for that beauty of a tag) had not one, not two, but three legally recognized spouses. One might wonder why Holmes didn't ever investigate the Case of Watson's Disappearing Wives. Perhaps it was too close to home. Perhaps he'd already solved it and rated it 'dull.' Perhaps that was an unpublished draft, crammed into an accordion folder next to The Case of the Doctor's Traveling War Wound.

First in the shoulder, now in the leg. I love this canon.

On a more sober note, The Sign of Four takes place when Great Britain still owned just about everything, and London had become a hub for people and practices from all over the world. Additionally, we're working within the Victorian Era, when exploration was cooler than sliced bread and there was a thirst for any kind of newness: in science, in literature, in industry, everywhere. Darwinian theory was huge. People didn't have to travel to see the exotic: it came to them in expos.

There are, therefore, some less than PC characters and references in this novel. The most notable is of course the inclusion of a pygmy man from a cannibalistic tribe off of Myanmar, who is described in appearance as almost inhuman. However, there are also several prominent colorblind relationships and loyalties portrayed, which was a pleasant surprise.

It is interesting to note that the criminals seem to be the ones of the enlightened mindset here. Nobility and loyalty are not strictly relegated to the white male characters trying to catch the murderers.


Quotes that should be memorable:

"You can... never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what any average number will be up to." (Holmes to Watson, spot-on description of mob mentality.)

"Like all humankind, they flitted from the gloom into the light and so back into the gloom once more." (Watson's PTSD isn't ever named as such, but it comes through pretty clearly in observations like this. He has seen a lot of evil and a lot of death, and still he strives to be a good person. His character is really very well and subtly developed in these stories, thanks to Doyle's lovely writing.)

"So we stood hand in hand like two children, and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us." (Beautiful and poignant.)

"You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid." (Holmes, obviously, to Watson, obviously, on the merits of descriptive writing, obviously. I cackled out loud.)

"Holmes declares that he overheard me caution [Mr. Sholto] against the great danger of taking more than two drops of castor-oil, while I recommended strychnine in large doses as a sedative." (Again with the laughing out loud. Why Watsons should never be distracted by pretty Marys and, again, why Holmes should seriously have investigated those vanishing wives.)

Next up: On to the stories!
gb_lindsey: (tree)
Remember that time when John met Sherlock???

Title: A Study in Scarlet
Status: Read it already
Spoilers in this post? Nope

Memorable quotes: We can thank A Study in Scarlet for the following popular Holmesian phrases...

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence."
(Holmes, warning Watson not to make an ASS out of U and ME.)

"I have made a special study of cigar ashes--in fact, I have written a monograph upon the subject."
(Holmes, challenging Watson to write a more gripping read than he does. Gauntlet=thrown.)

Now. Quotes that should be memorable. (This is the section where I expound upon what did not go viral but maybe should have. I'll be doing this for every story.)

"You sum up the difficulties of the situation succinctly and well." (Holmes to Watson)

I chose this quote because it is, in a single line, the crux of this partnership. Notice I do not say the crux of the friendship. We'll get to that. No, this is the foundation of Holmes' appreciation for Watson, not as a detective, but as a lens through which the raging torrent of Holmes' observations line themselves up like nice little school children. Watson may not have the chops to solve the case himself, but he can frame the miasma properly so that Holmes sees straight through. Love it. ILU ♥

"There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life."


Guh. WHY did you not go viral. Whyyyyyyyy.

"There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood."

Yes, that was Sherlock Holmes speaking. Another beauty of a line, and quite poetic for a character who doesn't go in for all that romantic drivel.

"What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done?"

This is Holmes, kvetching halfheartedly about certain police inspectors taking public credit for solving certain cases. Going a little deeper, it speaks to Holmes' unique form of sleight-of-hand: misdirection, exaggeration, and physical disguise are some of his greatest tools. But I chose this quote because there is a chilling quality to Holmes' observation. Ponder these words in a world where it's getting harder and harder to find unbiased, unslanted, uneditorialized coverage of anything that goes on. It is so easy to be convinced by what is on the surface, to just believe what we are told by whoever tells it. It reminds me to keep my Critical Thinking Goggles close at hand, and to take a second or even third look at whatever I see.

Next up: The Sign of Four. ^_^
gb_lindsey: (tree)
The other day, Goodreads poked me in the email and said, "HEY. HEY, YOU. Wanna make a reading goal?"

I of course said yes, having a very specific goal in mind. But then I clicked the helpful link and saw that I couldn't do anything more detailed than pick a number of books! How devastating, as my Very Sekrit Goal involves a grand total of...

Two books. Ooh, Grete, there's a finish line to strive for.

But I'm going to do it, in light of last year's successful accomplishment of another specific goal - I walked the length of Hadrian's Wall in Northern England, a longtime bucket list item for me (and who even cares if I'm "too young to have a bucket list"? I say the earlier you start, the more you get done!). This goal was only half realized in one respect, however, as it initially included 12 hikes in 12 weeks, complete with bloggy coverage. On Hike #2, I very ignobly fell coming down the steps from my apartment, overextended some tendon somewhere, and promptly bid goodbye to the 12 weeks part of the goal. I kept to my 12 hikes, but then lost the blogging part as well due to laziness uploading my photos.

Clearly I need to work on some aspects of my goal-setting.

HOWEVER. I did in fact meet the Ultimate Goal by hiking the Wall, a scary, gorgeous, mind-blowing, enriching, and utterly satisfying experience, despite the lack of blogging about it afterward. Ergo, this year I have decided to tackle another very different bucket list item.

I'm a Sherlock Holmes nut. I like just about every version I've come across for one reason or another, but for the average Holmesian, this last decade has been an absolute smorgasbord. We've got the Guy Ritchie films (for the first time, I see an actual VictorianDruggieBumHolmes, and I can't get over the RIGHTNESS of it, plus a kick-ass Watson)... Elementary (if the cases aren't always super clever, the relationship building is top-notch, and of course the gender-play, OH, the gender-play, plus a kick-ass Watson)... and BBC's Sherlock (near-perfect transposition into a modern setting, with hilarious scripting from a few of the most unapologetic Holmes geeks in the world and wonderful acting, plus, you guessed it, a kick-ass Watson).

(Finally, Watson! You are no longer being crammed into the Bumbling Idiot Box! Where you never should have been in the first place! Don't get me started!)

That's not even mentioning the Russian television series, the genderswitch sHERlock series, or the myriad other versions that have been bubbling up. Succinctly put, it's a great time to be a Holmes fan.

Hence, the goal: I intend to read the entire Sherlock Holmes repertoire by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the year 2016. And I intend to blog about it. I have recently gotten my hands on these two beauties,

which include, among other things, a spreadsheet running the lives of Holmes, Watson, and Doyle side by side from year to year (!!!).

But mainly I will be indulging in this compilation:

the books of which house every novel, short story and essay in order of (generally) chronological occurrence, are very pretty, and are much easier to pack into my shoulder bag than those other two.

Being a Holmes fan, thanks to my even crazier Holmes-fan of a mother, I have read a lot of these stories already, but I have woefully under-represented the novels and I intend to remedy that.

So! Two books. Twelve months. 1392 pages. The game, as they say, is afoot.
gb_lindsey: (tree)
Just a few helpful rules my, ahem, horror film addiction has taught me:


1) When your house turns old and British, move out.

2) When your house turns old and Japanese, that ship has officially sailed. Make sure you enjoy the time you have left!

3) When it dies, you'd better make sure it's dead. In fact, kill it twice.

4) If you think you need to open it, you don't. If someone says you need to open it, you don't. If it tells you you need to open it, it's wrong. You don't need to open it. Do whatever it takes, up to and including giving yourself a lobotomy, but do. not. open.

5) If I need to explain hitchhikers to you, it's already too late.

6) The shit shall hitteth the fan-eth, and thou shalt become much more knowledgeable about thy friends and acquaintances.

7) Civilization + zombies = asshole people.

8) Civilization + apocalypse = asshole people.

9) Civilization + any variable under the sun = asshole people. Go live in the country.

10) 17.5% of country bumpkins are trying to eat you for dinner.

11) Pick up a damn weapon. Hello.

12) Save a life, think in 3-D. That includes above you, below you, and inside you.

13) If you found it in the attic, the basement, the shed, the lockbox, the chimney, the closet, the trunk, the mysterious delivery crate, or if you bought it at an estate sale because you thought it would look cute hanging on your wall, you made a mistake. It's okay, we all make mistakes. The worse mistake would be to not kill it with fire.

14) Space, the final frontier. Operative word? Final.

15) Lots of children are cute. Children that are not cute: those born after a spontaneous blackout, after a prolonged period of abstinence, or after trying your neighbors' homemade dessert... those who enjoy playing with dolls, talking to their closets, or crawling on ceilings... those who have no discernible date of conception, no trouble speaking in archaic tongues, and no reason to be standing by your bed at godawful o'clock while holding a kitchen implement. Above all, beware of kids who don't mind wearing their hair in a bowl cut.

16) Cats don't really have nine lives. It's a metaphor. Under no circumstances should you attempt to bring them back to life once they are deceased.

...and of course,

17) If Sean Bean is in your movie, just try to stay alive longer than he does.
gb_lindsey: (tree)
Apollo 11 Draft

Photo borrowed from this tweet.

In early June, Google displayed archived documents from the 1944 D-Day attack on the Normandy Coast. Among these pictures, letters, and papers was a similar document to the one above, handwritten by Eisenhower, detailing his apology, explanation, and acceptance of blame in the event the Allied attack failed. My love for history and my understanding of how different things might well be aside, both that apology and this statement concerning Apollo 11 give me pause on the writerly front.

I have a dear friend who states that when she comes to a crucial scene in a manuscript, she discards not just the first option she pens, or the second, but sometimes the third as well and ultimately goes with the fourth. Keep in mind, writing is not a snap of the fingers for her; I have long been a lucky first reader of her work, and I can tell you she agonizes over the majority of her scenes, and she attacks description and characterization with the long considered zeal of a perfectionist. Ergo, this abandonment of carefully crafted prose two, sometimes three times, is not a short or simple process.

It’s also a marvelous, and difficult, writing skill.

By discarding what comes first and most naturally, she forces herself to think past three very important things:

1) The Obvious. The clichéd, the stereotypical, the been-there-done-that. Maybe it feels right to you because it’s right, but maybe it’s just because you’ve seen it somewhere before. You’ve watched another scene turn along these lines, you’ve heard other voices speak these words. Natural progression is good, but beware of the commonplace.

2) The First Option. By working past what pops into mind first, you explore other ways that a scene could result. You begin pushing against the walls of the box, sticking your fingers through the air holes, doubling your list of “what ifs.” If a scene refuses to go anywhere, perhaps the best bet to find that hinge moment and swing things another way.

3) The 2-D Character. Maybe this is what a character would do first, but is it what a character would do best? Taking a look at what else might happen, not from the authorial point of view but rather from the character’s point of view, can give you and your readers a ton of insight into this character that otherwise may never have surfaced. The character might still emerge victorious and alive from that moon landing, but the fact that he or she prepared for what might happen on the other end of the spectrum can be extremely instructive.

***

Random Writing Exercise: Take a particular scene (bonus points if it’s one you are stuck on!) and write in the exact opposite direction from the one you’d planned. See where it goes. It may take you nowhere. It may give you insight into your characters or plot that you were missing. It may throw open the next door and reveal to you exactly how to rampage over the writer’s block into the meat of your story.
gb_lindsey: (tree)
Congratulations to Carly Rose, who won a free copy of One Door Closes, and arella, who won a gift certificate to Amazon!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway. ^_^ Your support is amazing. Happy reading!
gb_lindsey: (whop)
Due to recent experience, I have decided there is nothing more insipid than a voice automated telephone answering service.

"You have chosen to speak to a live person. This is incorrect. Surely I can help you. Please say clearly the name of the person you are trying to reach. Did you say Dwight Eisenhower? You didn't say Dwight Eisenhower? You must be incorrect. Please say clearly what you would like to do. You have selected 'playing pinochle with a hamster'. Is this correct? You have chosen to speak to a live person. Invalid entry. Are you sure you do not wish to play pinochle with a hamster?"

**

Random Writing Exercise: Write the phone call that drove you insane. Write the character that got back at the smarmy telescam artist. Write the answer you wish you could have given.
gb_lindsey: (blue penguins)
The project this month is… moving.

Moving house, uprooting, disorganizing, reorganizing, categorizing, packing, oh god, the packing. All of it is stressful in a very physical way. I just hauled my cement block of a television up a flight of narrow wooden stairs to get it to my apartment door. Two steps from the top and you’re still miles away. Believe me, that’s the stress that keeps on giving.

However. It is also, I suspect, the most difficult part of the physical furniture moving. And it’s done.

Other things, not so much. There’s my cat, 16 years old and the feline equivalent of a cockroach: he will live forever and one day conspire with the Heart of Darkness (aka Sophie, my sister’s bunny) to take over the world. That said, he is still 16, still arthritic, and recently recovering from what may have been a small stroke. It swells the brain. He’s been treated, he’s doing well. But moving him… Ouch, in so many ways. On the one hand, do I want to relocate him, make him learn another haunt, meet new younger cats? On the other, he’s my cat, we snuggle every single night, he has a thing for ample-chested women because they are squashy and comfortable; how in the world am I going to get used to not having him there? On a third hand, because everyone should have a third hand: giant raccoons living in trees by my complex + consummate outdoor geriatric cat = oh no oh no oh god no.

But either way, I’m moving.

So, packing. Unpacking. Redistributing. Ripping up the home I know and hoping like hell that it’ll still hold the power to house me once I reassemble it in, let’s face it, a totally alien place. Yes, it’s a nice apartment, but it won’t be my home for a while. Maybe never, because I’ve lived in places that never became my home. I’m whiplashing back and forth between euphoria at finally having my own space and a terrible sense of misery and loss.

I think you just have to push through it, though. Can’t go around it, can’t wait for it to dissipate because then it just looms larger and larger in the corner of your eye. Wade firmly into the upheaval, hurt for a while, but shove through because eventually, things turn, dust settles. You hang that picture on the wall and step back and go, “Oh, there you are.”

And there it is.
gb_lindsey: (celtic cross)
In my everyday life, I work in living donor kidney transplant. That means that someone donates one of their two healthy kidneys to another person who is suffering from some form of kidney disease or failure. Living Donor kidneys tend to last longer than cadaveric kidneys (those donated from a deceased individual). The surgery itself is healthier for both donor and recipient: it's planned ahead of time, and no one has to jump up and rush to the hospital on a moment's notice.

And then, of course, there's this little gem: The Kidney Chain.

Last month, my center organized a chain of its own.

Today I got to watch four donors, one of whom was an altruistic donor (i.e., he had no recipient in mind; he just wanted to donate a kidney to someone in need) and four recipients meet each other for the first time after surgery. These are four pairs of donor/recipients who did not match each other as originally planned, but instead matched other people in other pairs.

This means that four people who might not have received a transplant got a healthy kidney. This means that four other people moved closer to transplant on the kidney transplant list, because these other four recipients moved off of it. This means that four people gave the gift of life to four other people they didn't know. This means that the last recipient on the list got a transplant far sooner than he probably would have while waiting on the list. This means that today, amidst cool, breezy weather, I got to meet eight healthy individuals and their families.

I honestly love that I can pause at the end of the day and say, "Hot damn, I love what I do."
gb_lindsey: (whop)
Let's get this going right.

The Hall of Fame: responses to the news about One Door Closes and subscribing to the newsletter:

Best Use of Imagery
"My lady, I humbly accept your invitation with the most profound sincerity and gratitude. Madam author, I shall await your future works of literature with much titillating anticipation, like that of a bull moose in the early whisper of spring awaiting a female. Or that of a Wal-Mart shopper on payday waiting for his meth dealer to call him back. Magnanimously, Your loyal supporter"

Best Troll
"Dear pretentious author aka Mz. Lindsey, I stumbled upon your site by chance, or maybe just bad luck, and I just have to say this: you are my new least favorite author. I can't wait to send you hate letter after hate letter detailing everything that I think is wrong with your books and your website. The appalling forest scene (who needs trees, anyway?) and the egregious cursive. My eyes are watering as I type this. And no, to answer your dismal question, I do NOT want to be a part of your "newsletter." Sincerely, your least favorite fan"

ETA: It's come to my attention that people are reading the Best Troll comment as a genuine insult. My apologies! Be assured, that's a dear friend of mine. She's been kind enough to make sure I always have a voice of dissention, no matter what happens during my writing career, and I heartily thank her for it! *laughs*

Win a spot in the Hall of Fame! Comment below, or here
gb_lindsey: (ring the bell)
Greetings! The fourth newsletter is bigger stakes because…

THE COVER IS HERE. O.o

I present to you:
One Door Closes, the cover reveal at Prism Book Alliance


Want to win a free copy of the entire Secrets of Neverwood anthology when it comes out? Hop on over to the above link and enter toward the bottom to win! While you’re there, check out the excerpt from One Door Closes and the audio reading of the first ten minutes.

As if that cover isn’t scrumptious enough…

Book Two cover reveal: The Growing Season
• Come see the Anthology cover design, as well as the reveal of Part Two of the Secrets of Neverwood with author Diana Copland. Enter to win a copy of the anthology upon release!

Book Three cover reveal: The Lost Year
• Author Libby Drew talks about the brainstorming of Neverwood, the house where our main characters grew up, and offers the chance to win a copy of the full anthology!

Additionally, all three books plus the Anthology cover are now up on my brand spankin’ new website.


COMING SOON...

The official blog tour, courtesy of the lovely and talented Pride Promotions. This blog tour will include stop-offs on a list of blogs, featuring reviews of the book, interviews with me, and excerpts from the text. Please come by and join the fun!
gb_lindsey: (ring the bell)
Come on over to Prism Book Alliance tomorrow for the exclusive cover reveal of One Door Closes!

An excerpt will be included. In the meantime, check out my reading of the first ten minutes!

A great big thank you to Brandi for all her hard work and support!
gb_lindsey: (ring the bell)
Check out the first ten minutes of One Door Closes, read aloud!

One Door Closes (sample reading)
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