Monday Thoughts on Creativity: PC Penhale Writer’s Syndrome

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, and yet Mondays are still coming around. ::sigh::

A couple of weekends ago, on both my Facebook profile and my YouTube channel, I talked about what I like to refer to as PC Penhale Syndrome. When you want to write, you’re inspired to write, you’re dying to write, and yet you just…can’t. It feels a bit like this Pablo Picasso quote, “If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes”, but for writers, we wish our fingers could do the typing and take out the brain that’s stopping us from moving forward.

I was thrilled that fellow writers in the chat at my YouTube event understood my issue. Fellow writers on Facebook left wonderful messages of encouragement. All of that helped —and thank you! Have a look at the YouTube video below to see the helpful comments that popped up during the livestream.

I want to let you know that writing every day helped a lot, and once I got going, I couldn’t stop! I think all that creative energy built up inside me came pouring out with fervor, so in that way it was great. But I don’t want to let it happen again because it’s painful until the spell is finally broken.

Even if I don’t feel inspired or have the path yet for my “main” work (i.e. the next book in the Dark Victoriana Collection), I have SO many other planned works that it’s not hard to pick one and work on it instead. So I’ll have to make sure that I use my writing time for either my main work or one of those other projects.

If you’re suffering from PC Penhale Writer’s Syndrome, watch the below video to know you’re not alone, and leave a comment so we sufferers can commiserate. Happy Monday!

 

 

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THE SLIPPER PROPHECY: An Alternate Ending to Cinderella

My brand new short story is now live on Wattpad! It’s under 1,000 words and an alternate ending to Cinderella – and I’m not telling you any more than that. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!

How to Ruin an Ending in One Easy Move

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945) was a fantastic movie. Heartbreaking, suspenseful, psychological. Yes, one hour and 15 minutes of it was great. The last 5 minutes, however, were horrendous. You see, this movie suffered from Cop-out Ending Disorder, and it ruined the entire thing.

Spoilers are included in this post, but don’t worry. If you watch the movie, you’ll be so confused by the ending that only the final screen’s warning will hint at what actually happened. “In order that your friends may enjoy this picture, please do not disclose the ending.” That was the only thing that told me the filmmakers hadn’t gone crazy. I had to really think about what on earth I just watched and only then did I finally understand. That’s when I got really annoyed.

Imagine you spend time writing a deep, sometimes slightly disturbing psychological suspense movie script. You write it all the way to the end and you have two choices: (1) satisfy moviegoers with something that fits the rest of the movie or (2) show that none of the intensity that led to the ending ever happened. That’s right, 30 minutes worth of movie were for naught. And somehow, for some unfortunate reason, Universal Pictures decided that #2 was the ending for them.

Even while you’re watching the bad ending, you think you know where it’s going. You think the main character has gone insane and it’ll end on a fittingly disconcerting note, slightly creepy and still within the movie code (in this time period, movies had to adhere to a movie code where everyone gets their just desserts, essentially). But no. It turns out none of the most satisfyingly dark stuff ever happened and everything is okay and everyone lives happily ever after. In other words, they’ve chosen the dream trope. Oh, thank goodness it was only my imagination!

I don’t know about you, but the disappointment in this kind of cop-out forces me to hate the movie as a whole and want to rewrite it with the much better ending it should been given the dignity to have. If you, reader of my blog, are a writer, please don’t do this to me or to your book. It’s not fair to your readers, your characters, or your writing in general. Do something with your ending that will satisfy and, if possible, surprise. It’s 100% worth the effort to come up with something that is, at the very least, appropriate to the rest of the story. If readers remember your book based on the last thing they read, your ending had better make the whole experience worth it.

That’s my editorial rant for the day.

Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Fiction Binoculars

When Monday is a national holiday, it gets a pass.

zoom-lens

One of the most important things creativity can be used for is not necessarily pushing your own views, but zooming in on something that needs more attention. In Joe Compton’s Amongst the Killing, it was how multidimensional the pain of loss can be and that it can cause self-destruction. In Jason Greensides’ The Distant Sound of Violence, it was recognition of how undervalued life can be and the spiderweb effect that can have on others, directly and indirectly. And in my book Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, it was the irreparable damage that can be done when someone is continually taught they’re worthless or wicked.

These messages aren’t meant to get you down. They’re meant to bring attention to things that aren’t talked about often enough. They’re meant to make you think about those who go through things you can’t imagine, to help you feel compassion for things you may never truly understand (hopefully). And they’re meant to warn you of situations you may not have seen coming before, situations you may be better prepared for after you read about them, even in fiction. They’re meant to help you reflect in an introspective way and to see more in others. Imagine how flat our lives might be without reading about others in places, relationships, and cultures so different from our own.

The best fiction makes us feel as if we’ve lived another life. And the best fiction of all makes us question any one-dimensional opinions we had before reading, especially ones we weren’t aware we had.

NaNoWriMo Novel and Temp Cover Reveal!

It’s October 3 and that means the NaNoWriMo site has been rebooted, and it’s waiting for you to announce your NaNo novel! So here I am announcing mine.

During November this year, I’m going to write a novella with the temporary title Greed, and here’s my temporary book cover, which I made myself and ended up really liking. I hope you like it too!

greed-temp-book-cover

I know, I know, my name needs to be bigger, but that will all come with refinement. There will also be a logo on the bottom right or left to indicate that this book is part of the Happy Endings Resort series. I’m aiming for 20-30k words, and the book already has a publication date of February 2017, so I really have to finish it during NaNoWriMo. The stakes are high!

Here’s a little excerpt from the book:

She drank from the ornamental fountain and her skin felt immediately better, rejuvenated. The fountain’s water wasn’t meant to drink, of course, but at this point it didn’t make a difference. Toxins, bacteria – it didn’t matter anymore.

The statue of Mary in the center of the fountain looked down at her.

Holy Mother, what must you think of me? Am I abhorrent? You could stop me if I am, couldn’t you? Isn’t it my children who are the abhorrent ones? Something allows me to do this, to be here again. I’ve forgotten the afterlife, so I don’t know if it’s your Son or His enemy who allows it. I am here either way.

She bent down and drank the fountain dry.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, add me as your writing buddy so we can support and encourage each other!

LOCKE AND KEYE IS FINISHED!

I’m so excited to announce that last night I finished the final draft of Locke and Keye and sent it off to my editor! It has been quite a long haul full of unexpected changes and complete turnarounds from the original idea. I started out with the concept of a 10,000 word novelette based on the different customers visiting a locksmith shop, and I ended with over 50,000 words – a full-size novel – based on the locksmith shop’s charming but controlling owner and his carefully picked, loner employees. I’m going to do a video on the painstaking process shortly, including the enormous overhaul the book underwent and how I stayed motivated when things got confusing and my time became limited.

I’ll let you know as soon as I have a publication date, but now I can say with even more certainty that Locke and Keye will be published this fall. Yay!

with-the-editor-announcement