Things I found on the internet

I’ve been writing again.

That feels more like a confession than it should.

Still, this new found enthusiasm for bashing out a YA novel with my face (that’s how everyone else write, right?) has left me with precious little time to waste on the internet. That hasn’t stopped me wasting time on the internet mind you, it’s just been at a higher personal cost.

Did you know after three days without sleep you start seeing things that aren’t there?

I did find some good stuff though…

Sarah Gailey write a thoughtful, interesting piece on PTSD and Harry Potter. It also has cute animal pictures. 

This amazing cover of Bad Moon Rising by Mourning Ritual.

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION: I wrote an article on the ELEW about knives and knife fighting for writers.

This is creepy as all get out, especially if you fear either dolls or black and white photography.

Oh yeah, and GRAVITATIONAL WAVES.

I now return to writing about my protagonist and her sweary, alcoholic, ex-spy, octogenarian badass of a grandmother.

 

Best villain ever?

I’m going to come out and say it, I think it’s A New Hope/Empire Strikes Back era Darth Vader.

*deep breathing*

*deep breathing*

I know, I’m a writer, I should have picked someone from a book, but Vader is the one who comes to mind when I think of ultimate villain. I specifically mention the first two movies in the original Star Wars trilogy because Vader is still a mystery at this point. He’s as much a force of nature as he is a person; a black cloak and skull mask that brought the darkness with him.

I first saw Star Wars when I was four or five years old, and unsurprisingly Darth Vader scared the ever loving wee out of me. I had dreams where he’d step through my chattered bedroom door, wreathed in smoke, coal red lightsaber in hand.

On the other hand when I got the chance to have my own cheap plastic lightsaber I grabbed the red one straight away.

Perhaps my parents should have looked into that.

When I force myself to look at the book villains I’ve loved things start to get trickier. Voldemort is a great villain, but on the face of it he’s not really all that smart. I love all things Cthulhu and Lovecraft’s Old Ones and Outer Gods are certainly terrible, but they’re terrible because they’re beyond good and evil. Humans aren’t even ants to beings like that, and in some ways that excludes them from being proper villains.

When it comes right down to it, I think it’s a character named Carcer from a book called Night Watch by Terry Pratchett, because I’m almost 100% sure I’ve met him.

Not the actual character, but the type. A friendly smiling chap until, as Pratchett said:

You realized that people like Carcer were not mad. They were incredibly sane. They were simply men without a shield. They'd looked at the world and realized that all the rules didn't have to apply to them, not if they didn't want them to. They weren't fooled by all the little stories. They shook hands with the beast.

Carcer is the charming sociopath, the man with the extra knives. He’s not a super smart Hannibal Lecter type, but he is charming right up until the knife sinks into you…and sometimes even after that. Carcer is exaggerated for fiction, but I’ve met a few people like that and Carcer’s plausibility, the idea that I ran into him while I was working nightclub security or even just passed him in the street is as much of what makes him scary as anything he does to anyone.

 

So, how about you? Who is your favorite villain ever?

100 Rejections

Rejection sucks.

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No.

 

 

No matter how much you brace yourself for it (and you should), no matter how many times you tell yourself ‘rejection is just part of being a writer’ (and it is) the moment your eyes catch the word UNFORTUNATELY in an email from an agent or an editor, it hurts.

I think one of the reasons it hurts is that writers tend to set themselves goals they have very little control over. I’ve definitely been guilty of setting goals like ‘get published by the end of the year’ or ‘sell this story to xyz publication’. When rejections come in that are related to those goals they serve as reminders that we don’t actually have much, if any, control over how others see our work. Obviously we can write the best story we can, but the final decision over whether or not an agent or editor wants to take us on sits with them and not us.

What we can control, other than making sure we make our work as good as it can be with the help of beta readers and editors, is how often we take a chance and send that work out.

I didn’t really figure this out until I was looking at Sarah Gailey’s Twitter account and came across the fact that she had a goal of gathering 100 rejections in the course of a year.

Not sell 100 stories. Get rejected 100 times.

That is freaking brilliant. It’s so brilliant I’m stealing it.

Because getting 100 rejections is something that’s under the writers control. You have to send out at least 100 submissions, be they query letters or short story submissions. No one can stop you sending queries and subbing stories.

And because you have control over this side of the equation, it takes some of the sting out of getting a no.

Not all of the sting mind you. I got a rejection this morning and now I want to self medicate with ice cream, but enough that I can quickly move on to sending the next query instead of dwelling.

I’m going to put a rejection counter up on the front page sometime today so I can keep track of my goal of 100 rejections in 2016.