Difficult Clients & Making Accomodations

I’m a very particular person when I work. I have a routine, a process. There’s a reason that I do the things that I do, because they work for me and make the ordeal of editing easier and run smoother.

Unfortunately, some clients just don’t care about that. Or, they’re just as particular and needy for a specific routine as I am. Either way, when it comes to work for the most part I can’t always do things the way I want them done. Sometimes clients want a specific format, or they want things completed in a strange way. I’ve had times where I’ve had to completely re-do work because a client didn’t like the format of my editing and wanted it done differently (something I wasn’t informed of before doing the work, which made it more frustrating.) My client today would like their editing sent to them in parts, rather than a whole, which is generally not how I do things unless I receive the piece in parts – it makes it easier to reference back to previous material when there are inconsistencies, and generally I don’t like sending in partial work, it just makes getting through everything more tedious.

Like I said, I’m particular.

I’m learning that, the more jobs I take on, and the variety of clients I get increases, they’re not all going to be as easy as others. Some are going to require a little more ‘breathe in, breathe out, it’s okay’ pep talks than others. Some are going to require me to learn and adapt to new working habits and routines. It’s all quite frustrating, really, but in the long run it will probably benefit me. At least that’s the hope; I could always be proven wrong.

 

Making My Way Downtown | Navigating Online Writing Forums and Starving the Trolls

I’ve been online for a really long time. As a 22 year old, that probably sounds silly, but considering the years I’ve participated in online forums/writing platforms/blogging platforms/social media/etc., it really begins to stack up. A lot. I’ve been online in various forms since middle school.

Ahh, the good ol’ days.

Now that I’m more streamlined into my writing and am more invested in cultivating my skills and networking with other authors, editors, and freelancers, I’ve also joined a lot of online communities that cater to writers. Usually through Facebook – groups are easy to find, join, and generally speaking offer a wide range of personalities and perspectives. It’s great. Social media is basically the two-way mirror from Harry Potter, without the super exclusionary fact that you have to be a wizard to use one.

So I’ve gotten to join a lot of really wonderful groups, with a lot of people who are just like me, or who have more experience than me, all who offer really good advice, perspectives, and resources, as well as potential friend-making if you find someone you click with. I’ve gotten to have access to a lot of connections that I didn’t have before keeping to my own little corner of the world here in Florida. However, this is the internet… And with the internet, comes trolls.

I honestly didn’t think that I would come across many if any within the writing groups that I’ve joined. For the most part, if you join a writing group, you want to share and exchange things about being a writer, things that are beneficial. For the most part. So coming across one randomly, out of the blue in an otherwise tame group surprised me. And then it angered me.

The knee jerk reaction to this person acting the way they did (an initial post they made was highly inappropriate, and the subsequent responses to other members pointing out the fact was childish at best) was to respond. Explain why they were wrong. Tell them, in a very well-thought-out, strongly worded reply that I did not appreciate their attitude, their words – the way they ignored basic professionalism and had no respect for the members in the group –

Until I realized. What would the point be?

The problem with trolls (or, assholes on the internet, because that’s what they are) is that they don’t care about your strongly worded response, your disappointment in their character. They don’t post the things they do with the mindset that they’ll change if people call them out on their problematic behavior. The only thing that happens is you getting sucked into an argument that goes nowhere.

It’s unfortunate that an incident like that happened in an otherwise awesome group, but moving away from the conversation and moving on to things that in the long run, will benefit you more than engaging people like that, is far more rewarding.

And hey, without people feeding into the drivel, the troll will just slink away and starve from the attention it’s not getting. Who wins? You do, every time.

Updates, Silence, & Catching Up

This last week, in a nutshell, has been h e c t i c.

I live in Florida, and for anyone who’s clued into the news the last week or so, we were hit by a hurricane. While we didn’t get it as bad as Haiti and the Bahamas/Jamaica did, it did cause a bit of a set-back by way of work and blogging (you try writing stories while Mother Nature rages outside your window.) But, the sun shining again and the rain is finally gone. It’s Monday – which, according to who you talk to, can be a good or a bad thing – and I have a lot to do.

Despite the lack of activity during Matthew’s temper tantrum, I ended up getting booked for a one-time job as well as another job that can lead to long-term work (which, for a freelancer, is heaven incarnate.) My current clients are/were also very understanding, and I should be getting a very nice chunk of hard-effort change once I finish tying up everything I fell behind on for the last week between preparations and weathering the storm. Afterwards I hope to be able to ease into my schedule again and not be so overloaded with make-up work, otherwise I’m pretty sure one of my partners is going to hunt me down and force me to nap for once.

Don’t think she won’t. She will.

I did miss writing a great deal, and I’ll be happy to slide right back into that now that things have settled. I have flash fiction for October I still need to put out, as well as short stories that need to be outlined and written, and maybe one sent off to see about publication. Prep for Patreon should be back in order this week, as well as working on getting this blog scheduled up and organized, because that’s the only way I know how to do productive work.

So, here’s to the start of the week, getting things accomplished, and working past life’s numerous hurdles.

Exhaltation

October 3rd, 20—

Father says that God doesn’t exist. Father says ‘He’s an imaginary machination, created out of humanity’s inability to accept that there is nothing – nothing – after the return to the Earth. They cannot grasp the emptiness that follows our departure from this worldly Hell, so they made Him up to appease themselves.’

I know the truth, though. I know Father is a liar.

And I know there is a God.

At night, I see Him. Our God. In my dreams, His voice is a beacon. It resonates ferociously in a language I do not know, but I crave desperately the sweet release it promises. It echoes, deeper than melancholic bass, from the depths where He resides, causing waves to crash and flood against the shores. The beings of the ocean writhe and wriggle to its tune, for they know His rise is coming soon, and it fills their bodies with obedient joy.

Too often, I find myself, too, writhing in the covers as I sleep to the cadence of the ocean creatures at the sound of His calling. I long as They do, with a yearning I cannot explain. Father, roused by my uncommon nightly noises, often thinks my dreams must be something wicked and lewd to have me emitting such sounds and undulating so in my sleep, but I know better.

It’s the response to the Call, to the impending awakening the world will soon know. The elation can’t be contained, even in dreams.

He’s coming. Rejoice.

Lovecraft, the APA & Horror: a Manifesto of the Greater Rocky Mountain Horror Writers APA

This is an incredibly good read, and I encourage any horror authors to take a look at it.

Zombie Salmon (the Horror Continues)

Writing is one of the most personally punishing of the professions we could choose. We learn in a vacuum, taught by other people who are also feeling their way along because those “in the know” haven’t a clue on how to tell us what they want without belittling our every effort.

So how do we “preserve” what we do if we cannot get published? When you are ready to look back on your Life’s Work, will it be with an eye to the next winter’s fire, hidden in an attic, or bequeathed to a reluctant relative?

Who will know what you wrote? And what if it’s not that it was “bad” – it was simply not in style when written?

Lovecraft3The Same Thing Happened – to LOVECRAFT

I am not saying that we are the best judges of our work, or that an unsuspecting public deserves to be inundated with…

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Serious Frustrations | Rape In Horror

I’m going to preface this with the obvious content warning. This is going to be discussing rape, and my frustrations with how it’s used in writing – particularly in film. Not going into details, but just be aware if this is a topic that can upset or trigger you. This also might not be the most cohesive piece of writing, but the title says it all. I’m frustrated.

Now. On with it

I’m sitting here, watching a horror movie. It’s October, and a custom for me. It’s spooky season. The time for fright. I tend to like to indulge that by watching whatever horror/suspense movies happen to be on the number of subscription services I pay for. Today, it’s some trash on Hulu.

I’m minding my own business. The movie isn’t great, but the entertainment isn’t really supposed to be in an award-winning plot or outstanding characters, it’s supposed to be what scares me or makes me jump or say ‘woa, that’s super fucked up.’ I like gore and good ‘ol hack ‘n’ slash movies like any other horror junkie, okay?

Anyway. Group of young folk in the middle of the woods. The why isn’t really important, it’s a small sliver to the plot but the important thing is most of them are going to die. Also, apparently all the women have to be raped. That’s a main plot device. All three of the women who are murdered are raped prior to their murders, and the two surviving women are threatened with it – them being raped is key to the assailants’ master plan – before they are saved. It’s all very, very scary.

If agitation was a font, I’d have used it just then ^

It’s something that comes up in a lot of horror films – hell, it’s something that comes up often in other genres, as well – but I’ve found that horror likes to sprinkle in a overzealous dose of rape to their plots. Just to top off all the blood and gore, why not add in sexual assault. And… why? Why is it necessary?

I know, this is probably a silly question to be asking of subpar to decent-grade horror, but I’m asking it regardless.

I suppose the argument could be made that, well gee, Paris, you’re watching a slasher film and you expect there not to be rape? but my issue is less with the fact there is rape, and more in the fact that it just seems to be tossed into the equation as only something that (1) can happen for women characters and (2) will happen to women characters. Because they’re women, and women just get raped. That’s the message that I get anytime these movies go for that ‘shock’ scene. It’s not a very good message, in my opinion. Wild axe murderers and cannibals, or zombies and other undead are things most people will never experience, because they’re wild situations or simply impossible. Rape is one of those things that isn’t and it’s portrayal in horror (and again, film and writing in general) is problematic at best and damaging at worst. It’s either the ‘slut’ character (which, oh boy, we could have a whole discussion on that can of worms) the ‘innocent virgin,’ the ‘troubled youth-‘ regardless, the rape is coming, and it’s obvious, and it’s somehow the only bad thing that can happen to you as a woman, so the plot has to capitalize on that sexual violence. You can almost feel the urgency within the plot narrative that screams, if we don’t have them all raped, then that’s a wrap! After all, it’s obvious people crave it. Audiences sickeningly eat up the tragic mid-horror rape scenario and love it when it happens again and again. Because it breaks the woman down. Or it builds her up. Whatever stupid excuse people make to justify the needless rape plot device, though I think the excuses say a lot about how people view the act outside of seeing it in film.

Maybe I’m asking for too much creativity when it comes to horror films. It could be the case of me wanting more (says the woman who admits to liking hack ‘n’ slash, I know.) Perhaps that’s my issue – I expect too much. But I feel there’s no limit to expectation, regardless of genre, and to accept the uncritical application of a theme like rape within any genre of film or writing, in my opinion, is lazy. To not ask yourself and other’s viewing and enjoying why it doesn’t seem like a big deal, why people don’t cringe in the ‘oh, why did they need to do that like that’ sort of why. Perhaps it’s my personal experiences with things like sexual abuse and rape that prevent me from seeing the entertainment value in willy-nilly, uncritical, downright badly written, poorly-used rape scenes.

Whatever the reason, I still find myself unrestrained in my frustrations that that’s where writers and directors and whomever else working on a piece go when they think of things that will horrify. As if rape is a marketable commodity that will better sell the product you’re putting to market.

That seems wrong to me. We can do better. We should do better. It’s easy to fall back on ‘this will shock people,’ but is it necessary? Is it worth it? Why is it always excused as a genre trademark?

How do we change it?

Writing, Publishing, & The Struggle

Earlier today my uncle, who is a writer/producer/jack-of-all-trades within the indie film community, posted an article written by Shaunta Grimes (which you can find here, worth the read) that sort of just. Opened my eyes a little bit more about being a writer, getting published, and the choice between going ‘big’ with publishing or remaining independent. I think it’s something that a lot of writers, especially young ones, or those of us who have only recently taken the steps to make writing a career, feel. Overwhelmingly. Because do you go the route of having something established, well-known, and potentially more stable with your name on it, or do you take the chance do it all yourself?

In her article, Shaunta talks about landing an agent for her first novel, Viral Nation. She highlights her excitement over getting picked up by one of the ‘Big Six’ publishing houses, the joy of seeing her work sold by a retailer (Barnes & Noble, how we love them,) and then the crushing sensation that was realizing her books weren’t like others published with the same house, and weren’t received as well when it came time for sequels and other story ideas.

The long and the short of the article, is that publishing with a big company isn’t always satisfying – and it isn’t always what’s best for the writer, their content, and what they want to accomplish. She also discusses the freedom that came with letting go of her agent, and becoming the person in charge of her own work, and in what she would write. She took back the reigns of her own operation, and became happier with the results.

As someone who would like very much to publish a novel, one day (near or far future, I’m not too picky) I thought Shaunta’s piece was insightful. Being your own boss, as a writer, having full control over your work, what you want to write, the people who you wish to write for, isn’t that part of what being a writer is about? Commanding control over your writing and doing with it what suits you and your work best? As the creator of your content, should you not take the brunt of getting it out there and being the one to tell yourself what to do?

I’ve been working a lot on establishing myself, and the more I read and go through my own experiences as a writer, the more I find that I’m leaning more towards the independent side of things. A lot of freelancing comes with being your own boss, to an extent – generally you get to choose what you do, when you do it, with the obvious confines of a deadline set by your clients. Why would I not want that for my own writing?

I do know that I have a long way to go before I’m ready to publish. There’s plenty of time to figure out the how once I get to the point of publishing. But it’s nice to know there’s options outside of having to go with a ‘big’ publishing company. There’s choices aside from being told what to write, how to write it.

A writer can be in control. That’s reassuring.

 

 

Beneath

They didn’t believe me when I told them there were monsters under my bed.

When I would scream for them, pleading, tears streaming down my face, they would shake their heads, my Mother and Father. Check under the bed, was Mother’s soft suggestion to my tired Father, whose eyes, red with need for sleep, would roll when he thought I wouldn’t catch him. To his knees he would go, and I would watch frightfully the curve of my father’s broad back as he craned and looked beneath my bed.

Nothing here, he would say, but dust bunnies and my lack of patience. You’re too old for this. Go to sleep, Cara.

But I never could.

Countless times They would come. When the house was still and calm with sleep, I would lay in my bed with covers to my chin and my eyes closed tight, though no rest would come to me. It always started with the scratching – the screech, screech, screech of talons clawing merciless against the floor beneath my bed. Visions of my flesh giving way to those talons would find a place in my mind, and more often than not, my thighs would wet with a release of urine I could not control.

My Father would blame these nightly accidents on medical problems. My mother insisted perhaps I should be allowed a nightlight – a notion my father refused. She’s thirteen, she needs to grow up.

What I needed was their belief, but at night I received nothing but a closed door and darkness. From the darkness, They would creep, slinking from beneath my bed, and I could hear them slither and slink across the floor. When my bed dipped with their weight, I would tug my covers futilely over my eyes – They would always snatch them away.

Rancid was the air around them, hot and muggy. It scented of vomit and rotted meats, and the scent was stronger when thick, molten-hot tongues barbed in spines slunk out and traced their way across my flesh. It burned, singing my skin, and where their talon-sharp fingers probed and poked at my body, the tender flesh split and tore in bloody lines.

I would try to keep in the screams, hope that They would leave me alone – but They, and Their many tongues and fingers would make their way to my eyes to try and pry them open, and I would refuse to look at them. In turn, I’d scream, and the sounds would summon Mother and Father, though when they came to door, frantic, no monsters would be there.

The trails of scrapes and burns left over my face and body from Their exploring tongues and creeping appendages were explained away as self-inflicted. Sharp nails scratched into skin. Lighter burns – from a lighter they could never seem to find. Attention seeking came up. Disappointment was habitual. Mother wanted to call the doctor, and Father refused steadfast.

The monsters always returned, night after night. Their curious explorations were terrifying, and when They would urge me to look at them, I would scream – I had to feel Them, smell Them. I couldn’t bear to look at Them, too.

Resistance to Their persistence failed, one night. Tendrils had crept into my mouth, sliding sticky and tar-like between my lips. I choked on my sobs and the obstruction in my mouth. The rotted scent forced vomit to my throat, and the day’s meal sputtered from between my lips. My struggle had me flailing, screaming against the intrusion – distracted.

Talons pried open my eyes, and I screamed for my Salvation at the monstrosity in my midst.

I remember little of what followed. What I can recall is everything dripping in red. The red, I would learn, from within the walls of a padded cell, was Mother and Father, spattered over every surface of my room.

It was like they were stuffed in a blender and painted on the walls – the Doctor’s words.

I say nothing but the truth, about the monsters under my bed. About the talons and the tendrils, and the hot stink of Death. I show them my scars, the welts across my body, but my cell becomes smaller, and the ears become deafened.

They don’t believe me when I tell them there are monsters under my bed.

They are wrong.

The Beasts Within the Woods

The red moon rises, arcs, comes to rest high against the midnight darkness. A pool of blood amidst a starry sky, it’s the Devil’s mark, they say. But the Devil doesn’t show His face, not this night, and none before. We’ve never seen the Devil here, only the monsters that seek appeasement on His behalf – the Beasts within the woods.

They howl to the red moon, growl and snarl – hidden – beyond the cover of half-dead trees that shake like bones in the Autumn breeze. Their shadows threaten their presence, teasing dangerously close to the edge of the decaying tree-line, where we gather in a circle, shaking with those trees as our own bones shiver within our skins. But we know what must be done, every blood-red moon, and so we stand ‘round the crackling fire as the eldest of our brood speaks.

Sacrifice, he says, bold and sure though his jowls quake fearfully with the rest of us, is the way of survival. One will sacrifice, so that all may survive. This is the way.

We repeat his words. This is the way. The way it’s always been.

The sky gets darker, the moon glows brighter, its light pulsing, like a beating heart. Rustling from the woods intensifies, and the Elder’s voice dims with each hungry shriek and gluttonous growl of the Beasts that wait beyond.

Who, he asks, will Sacrifice themselves tonight?

Silence meets his ears, and the ground is overcome with tremors. A babe cries in its mother’s arms, and the Beasts answer with a hiss.

Who, it’s asked again, will Sacrifice themselves tonight?

Leaves shuffle along the grass as a woman steps forward, tentative, before the man beside her tugs her back, his fingers white-knuckled about her arm. All eyes fall to the pair, and then cast down to the roundness of her stomach. No one speaks, watching. We all know a choice has to be made – if not willing, then the Beasts will choose, and when the Beasts take from the unwilling, they’re ravenous in their want.

From the tree-line, glowing eyes open and watch. Yellow-orange, milky grey. The air seems to chill with their presence. A twig snaps, the sound crackling through the woods. It’s the Elder who steps back next, though the reaction is futile.

A leathery tendril, covered in thorny spines and dripping muck springs forth from the woods. It takes the Elder in its grasp, twisting around his figure. We only watch as it winds and creeps about his form, as the tendril plunges inside him through his mouth, bulging out his throat. Blood wells like a fountain from the gaping hole, and the Elder is drug into the woods, his hands clawing the earth as his tears stream down his face.

All calms, and stills. Even the babe is silent. Above us, the blood-moon glows.

September Re-Cap & October Goals

I fell off a bit towards the end of September (which might be a bit of an understatement, posting was very scant in general,) but overall, I got a lot accomplished in the month. I managed to stick to writing every day, either through work, blogging, or personal writing, and I also developed a bit of a daily routine that I think I can stick with and utilize from here to November. And while I didn’t necessarily hit word count goals for the totality of September, I at least have the motivation to work harder for October.

So. What does October have in store, then?

I’ve already mentioned previously that I plan to launch my Patreon account at the end of October. Preparation for that, working on scheduling, and thinking about my overall goals for having one are in order. It’s also NaNo prep month, which means a lot of plotting, snippet writing, and pre-drafting going on.

What I really want to accomplish this month, is solidifying my writing routine, encompassing work, blogging, and personal writing, as well as stick to and consistently hit daily goals. It’ll make moving into November easier to accomplish, and I’ll be able to build off what I’ve already established from September, moving on forward.

Here’s to big things happening in October.