Posted in Poetry, Written Works

Pretense (Please Stop)

I found this old lyrical poem in my notes.  It’s probably going to go into my poetry album project (which I’ll discuss eventually on here in more detail), depending on how well it reads.  For an early attempt at verse, this one isn’t half bad.

We haven’t spoken for a year.

I’ve tried and tried to make it clear.

But here you are again,

Using that same old line.

You’re looking for a pretense.

Please stop.

 

You follow after me all the time,

To talk about your dirt and grime.

Trying to leave, making excuses.

Using that same old line.

I don’t want your pretense.

Please stop.

 

Pretexts, pretenses that a lie enhances.

Saying things that aren’t true.

Making the words feel true to you.

Using your words to get to me.

I don’t think you truly see.

 

You’re holding on too hard to me,

Thinking that I won’t break free.

You tie me up with promises

Using your rusted twine.

I don’t want your “friendship.”

Please stop.

 

Pretexts, pretenses that there’s dependence.

Saying things that aren’t true.

Making the words feel true to you.

Using your words to get to me.

I don’t think you truly see

 

You held on too hard to me,

Like a rusty hinge.

You thought I needed your venom

For oil and polish.

This door’s been locked for ages,

Shutting you out like a princess disgraced.

‘Cause guess what–

I’m free!

 

Pretexts, pretenses that a lie enhances.

Saying things that aren’t true.

Making the words feel true to you.

Using your words to get to me.

I don’t think you truly see….

….That now, I’m free.

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

Beta-Reading … What Next?

I still can’t get over how many people jumped at the opportunity to help out by beta-reading my Cliche draft.  It’s seriously overwhelming and but super-delightful.  Just … WOW.

Now that I’ve finished writing the book and the beta-readers have been given their manuscript copies to play with, what’s next?  What’s my plan going forward?

Well, just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, my book won’t be beta-read in one either.  I had a ton of brainstorms for writing the sequel, and I’ve written them all down; I’ve decided it would be foolish to try writing a sequel when things may need to be retconned in the first book before that’s publishable.

It’s good to take a break between writing and editing so that you can look at your work with a fresh perspective. That’s what I’m going to be doing when it comes to Cliche.

Coincidentally, I’ve taken enough of a break from writing After the Fall that I’ve got some new outlooks for how to take that story forward.  That’s the novel-length project I’ve had on my mind for a while, but I hit a stopping point last Autumn.

If all goes well, I’m going to pick that project back up and try to make a little more progress in the next few months.  Good novels can’t be written in a day – or a year – either, especially if you’re me.

I see so much potential in this story, I’m committed to finishing it, even if it takes a while.

Wish me luck!

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

Beta-Readers Wanted [ALL SET]!

Update, 6/13/17: I’m pleased to announce that for the moment, I’m all set in the beta-readership department!  Thank you so much to everyone who signed up!  Rest of you’ll just have to wait for the book when it’s done (or maybe I’ll let you read the second draft after revisions). 😛

 

If you’re reading this, then it means I’ve finished writing the first draft of my latest writerly obsession, Cliche, and I’d love your help to make it the best it can be!

If you’d like to beta-read the current manuscript, a) I’d be really grateful and b) here’s some information for you to consider before you get started:

 

So, Allison, what’s it about?

Short version: Two poorly written protagonists emerge from the pages of their manuscripts to confront their poorly writers about it.  Hilarity (and Tofurkey) ensues.

Long version: Ryan Petrie and Jen Penrose are two young, struggling writers.  Jen’s madly in love with her own seriously flawed protagonist, a handsome rogue named Xander Portmanteau.  Ryan’s got a few mixed up ideas about what makes a female character like Lyra Jones, Space Huntress and Defender of the Universe, strong.  Magically, the characters emerge from the pages of their manuscripts (in the scale of plastic action figures) to confront their authors about their flaws.  Before too long, things get a little out of hand….

 

What genre is it?

Probably satire.  Truth be told, it’s a little of everything it makes fun of.  There’s high fantasy swashbuckling on a real-world city sidewalk, intentionally contrived romantic tension because all the other books do it, and social commentary on a couple of contemporary issues faced by young people today. 😛

 

How long is it?

The current manuscript is just under 20,000 words and 76 double-spaced manuscript-format pages.

 

What kind of feedback are you looking for?

Honest, realistic, constructive criticism in terms of how the story flows.  In that respect, what can I do to make it better?  What’s missing?  What could I do better?  What am I doing great at?  Proofreading is for proofreaders, so don’t worry about that unless the sheer volume of typos makes the MS painful to read!

 

Is this book clean?

In my many years of being prudish, I’ve learned that literary “cleanliness” is a highly subjective term and relative state.  I don’t want to tell you it’s 100% kosher because everyone’s standards and sensitivities are different.

In a deceptively light-hearted fashion, Cliche touches upon some mature themes.  One of the book’s purposes is to satirically call out the objectification of both men and women in certain mainstream fiction genres.  I’ve done my best to handle these issues tactfully and comedically, without being gratuitously crude.

It’s certainly not a smutty book, but because of the aforementioned themes, I wouldn’t recommend Cliche to readers younger than age fifteen.

 

Is there a deadline?

If you can finish your critique before the year ends, that would be awesome!

 

What’s in it for me, buster?

Acknowledgements in the finished product, should Cliche make it that far.  A free eBook version of the finished product and discounts for obtaining physical copies – again, assuming we get to that point.

 

I can’t commit to a detailed critique.  Can I just read it for fun (or because I’m your friend and you promised me you’d let me read it when you’re done)?

Sure, why not?  Just don’t, y’know, steal the manuscript and publish it yourself, because then we can’t be friends anymore. 😛

Of course, I’d appreciate a bit of feedback, even if it’s just “lol this is amazing my fav char is xander” or “wow dis is lame don’t quit ur day job but lyra’s pretty funny.”

 

Still interested?  Please fill out the form below, and I’ll happily consider inviting you into the crazy world of Cliche!

 

 

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews, Uncategorized

Allison Reads Bronte – Jane Eyre, Part 3 [AUDIO EDITION]

I was too lazy to jot down my thoughts in full, so I decided to record them instead.  Yay, now you get to hear what I sound like when I’m not acting.  (Truth be told, I’m not the most polished speech-giver/speaker, so this is actually a good exercise in skill and confidence for me.  It’s scary enough sharing my voice with the world when I’m reading other people’s words.)

For context, I marked various points of interest with paperclips as I was reading this section, and flipped through the pages to find them as I was recording.  (I’ve done my best to edit out all the page-flipping noises.)  Plus, because my hands were full with the book, I couldn’t hold the pop filter over my mic, so #nofilter! 😛

Also, before we begin – this portion of the book deals with a lot of romance and briefly mentions a character’s past affair and the possibility of this character’s illegitimate offspring.  This book, while not vulgar, is not for six-year-olds.

For those of you who are worried about how fast I talk without pausing to take a breath, yes, it’s true, I talk pretty fast, but I also edited most of the particularly long, awkward pauses between my sentences.

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

Musings on Poetry

When I first decided I wanted to be a writer, a lot of the well-intended adults in my life suggested I hold off on trying to write a novel first-thing.  Instead, I ought to write short stories.  Being the overconfident kid I was, I paid them no mind.  Several years later, I think I’m finally capable of writing middle-grade-novel-length books.  And I’m still not particularly good at cramming my story plotlines into short story form.  I can’t help but wonder, if I’d honed my short-story-writing skills in this time, would I be better off?  I don’t know.

Still, now that I run a blog and am trying to update it every-other-weekly with new content, I do see the appeal of producing short, bite-sized content.  I’m hesitant to share serialized excerpts of a story that I plan on printing in its entirety and selling – and, as noted, I am neither good at nor easily able to enjoy writing short stories.  So I’ve taken to sharing my poetry, however badly it’s written.

One of my recently completed voice acting projects involved reciting some obscure poetry from a classic writer.  From reading what other, more experienced poets have written, I feel like I’ve internalized some elements that improved my own poetry writing technique; it has certainly influenced the way I want my writing read back to me when I’m done with it.

Despite my greater interest in reciting poetry, I’ve never been a fan of reading it for fun.  I’m by no means a poetry aficionado, or even a casual reader yet.  But it’s an interest I’m starting to cultivate to the point that I’m now comfortable reading my own writings aloud and to other people.

I always enjoyed the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, particularly the ones where nameless, first-person-POV characters (whom I always nickname Edgar) sink deeper and deeper into pits of insanity, with or without pendulums.  But he also wrote poetry, which I’m hoping to explore.  And as you know, I’m exploring the literary world of the Bronte siblings.  Under the collective pseudonym of the Bell brothers, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne wrote loads of poems.  I’m starting with the authors I’m already familiar with for their stories, and getting to know them anew for their poetic works.

On a final note, several of my friends and readers have asked me to explain the meaning of my poems, and whether or not their interpretations are accurate.  I never know how to respond.

One of the things I resented in grade school was being given a poem and told there was only one right way to interpret it – the way the textbook said it was.  I don’t think that’s the way poetry is meant to be read.

For me, the beauty of poetry is that it doesn’t have to be blunt and straightforward.  I can be a lot more wishy-washy about the words I’m using  than I can with regular storytelling, and still classify it as art – word-art.  This leaves the reader wondering what they’ve just read, and what any of it even means, and each one has their own unique perspective to offer.

Some poems are meant to be obvious, but my poetry is intended to be cryptic.  Even if I had at least one idea in mind when I wrote the thing, I want it to be interpreted in as many ways as possible.  Do you think I’m just going to give away the one idea I had in mind when I was writing it, and take away your ability to interpret it in a million and one ways?