Bookish Content

7 Tips for Writing Horror

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Writing

AuthorTube Newbie Tag!

And we’re back again with another AuthorTube video! Finally going to conquer the AuthorTube Newbie Tag in celebration of my new space.

As always, YOU’RE ALL TAGGED! You get a tag, and YOU GET A TAG! EVERYBODY GETS A TAG!!! Oh, and make sure to tag me back so I can see your video creations!

Bookish Content, books

3 Reasons Why You Should Read Les Misérables

Yay! I finally have a new BookTube video! It’s been a while, but I’ve finally settled into my new place, and I’ve been wanting to talk about this book for ages.

See, a lot of people ask why I call myself Mizzie. It’s all to do with a little booky wook from the 1860’s by a French dude called Victor.

 

Let’s talk Les Mis! Have you read it? Are you a fan of the musical? Do you ship E+R? Let me know in the comments!

Writing

30 Questions & Answers About My Novel

In honour of submitting my novel to Pitch Wars for the very first time, here’s a Tag about my book-baby! Congratulations to everyone else who submitted, and good luck! In the meantime, here’s:

The WIP Tag (1)

Lovingly stolen from You Write Fiction.

#1 Introduce your WIP…
My manuscript is a science fiction novel called The Andromeda Man! It’s about a woman who starts getting messages from a man who might not exist, but reminds her of one in her strange, dream-like premonitions.

#2 Why does your protagonist pull at your heartstrings?
Sarah is troubled, mean, a cheater… but she knows who she is, and she knows she can do better. Just not right now.

#3 How do you get to know your characters?
Day-dreaming, mostly. I find showers to be magic for novelling!

#4 Share a line about your premise!
IN A WORLD where social media is used to divide us instead of keep us together, how do you make your private life count?

#5 How easy is this WIP to write?
HAHAHAHA. Easy! You’re so funny. It’s been several years of plotting, re-plotting, re-working… you know the drill.

#6 Which character is hardest to write?
The main character, if I’m honest. She goes dark from the beginning, and is difficult to redeem. But she’ll find her way, if only she had the time…

#7 Tell us about you and your work!
I’ve been a writer my whole life, from short stories to fan fiction to plays and now, to novels. The Andromeda Man is my first (decent) novel, and the first I’ve taken seriously as an original work. I’m so excited to go on this journey with my book-baby!

#8 Who is your protagonist’s best friend?
Technically it’s Ellie, one her talented co-workers, but Sarah’s never been the greatest with “friends”.

#9 How did the main characters meet?
Sarah and Bill met when she was assigned to tutor him in “Strobing”, a fancy new form of texting.

#10 Anyone suffering from a broken heart?
Does “all of them” count as an answer?

#11 Share a line about love or hatred…

“But I remember…” she searched hard for the words, “I remember I do love you. I’ve always loved you, even if I can’t remember the days, or nights, or any other time spent that I wasn’t sure is still in your future.”

#12 What was your protagonist’s past like?
Bad. Real bad. Not that she’d ever talk about it.

#13 What’s a message about relationships in your book?
Relationships rely on communication. Take that away, and what’s the point?

#14 Which characters get along worst?
Oh geez, you’re not making this easy, are you tag? In a way, the main couple gets along the worst. Sarah and her fiance Bill get along like oil an water, always rubbing off on each other (pun intended), but never quite blending.

#15 At its best, my WIP’s dialogue is…
Absolutely scorching.

#16 I love how I describe things when…
Things fall apart. A lot falls apart in this novel…

#17 I love how I depict characters because…
I let them be terrible. Not everybody needs a redemption arc.

#18 Share an example of your best prose!

Two dumb kids in dumb outfits getting married. Of course the officiant had seen it before, but had she ever seen a love like theirs? A love untouched by time or history, a love only alive inside their hearts? That’s real, Sarah thought as she and Cito shared their first kiss as husband and wife. Love is the space between lust and freedom. Love is not patient or kind, it’s crude and carefree. Vicious and loyal. Unexpectedly sensual. Ride or die before it’s earned. Love is Cito and Sarah in prom costumes getting married in a un-air-conditioned room at the bottom of a skyscraper. Love is all I have.

#19 I love my world/setting because…
I’m a Torontonian setting my novel in a futuristic Toronto. I love a future that’s not quite polished. In 2048, the skyline is a little higher, but no prettier. Artificial intelligence never grew to surpass human service. Social media is more refined and more limiting than ever before. It’s a little dystopian, but it’s real. It’s a future I can foresee.

#20 The relationship I root most for is…
Honestly? Ellie and Sarah. They should be the best of friends, but it can never work as long as they don’t open up.

#21 I’m most impatient to hear reader reactions to…
The first big twist, the big love story. What happens when Sarah remembers the future?

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From the protagonist’s (Sarah’s) point of view…

#22 Describe yourself in five words:
Adaptable, thin, quick, unhinged, obsessed.

#23 One thing you’d change in your past?
Are you joking?

#24 Favorite ways to relax?
A warm bath. Or a cold bath. Just a long bath.

#25 A line you were proud to say:

“Don’t.”

#26 Tell us about where you live:
I live my fiance’s apartment. We bought it together, but… it’s his. Not mine.

#27 Do you sympathize with (or relate to) the antagonist?
I… I think I am the antagonist? I don’t know, maybe that sounds too egotistical.

#28 What are you self-conscious about?
On the outside: my freckles. On the inside: my vicious loneliness.

1 (3)

Back to the author (a.k.a. me)…

#29 How long do you expect to be working on this WIP?
It’s actually finished! We’re moving from #amwriting to #amquerying , and I think it’s finally ready to go!

#30 What do you hope touches readers the most in the story?
The main character’s journey to redemption is the reason I started this novel in the first place. Whether she finds it or not is another story, and where she seeks it may or may not be right, but at least she’s on her way to starting.

 

Thanks for reading! I know how hard it is to find decent tags, so I tag everyone who clicked on this post! Happy writing! 🙂

Mental Health, Writing

Too Much Inspiration and How to #HumbleBrag

Well, here’s a problem I never thought I’d have:

#ImTooInspired

Like, I’m not talking about #TooManyIdeas . #TooManyIdeas is my usual issue, where I have a million plot bunnies taking up space in my head but no actual drive to write them. I just let them steep in there, slowly melting into one another and birthing a #FrankenPlot that wouldn’t survive life on the page.

No, that’s not problem. I’m not just inspired, I’m motivated! My fingertips are pinned to the keyboard. I don’t sleep anymore, I write, and it’s not just the jet lag! I came back from my family vacation with four finished Scrivener outlines and corresponding moodboards for each.

Aren’t they all so preeetttyyyyyyyyyy???

I’m equally excited about all of them: the characters are fully realized, the voices are original, the plot is unique… which puts me in a really weird position.

Either I can focus in on one idea, write it all out, and let it settle a while in #FirstDraftPurgatory … or I can multi-task. Write a chapters here and there as I get the kick of inspiration. Write four stories at once. A novel, two novellas, and a fiction podcast.

#WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong?

I know, I know: hundreds of thousands of writers would kill to have my problems. Writing is hard enough on a good day, but when you’ve gone two months with no urge to sit down and scribble… that’s Hell for us. But we all go through it. Every now and then, whether it’s to do with your mental health or just a severe need to caffeinate (or both!), it’s really hard to sit down and write. Or stand up and write, for that matter. The words won’t come, and if they do, you just don’t have the energy to document them.

What a rubbish task this whole writing business is?

The good news is, if you truly love writing, that pang of motivation WILL come back. You might have to force it, training yourself first with 50 words a day and working up from there, but you will learn to #ActuallyWrite again. And then you’ll want to write more. And then you’ll wanna do it too much aand then you can’t stop and oh Lord when was the last time I ate I NEED COFFEE SEND HELP

Bookish Content, Writing

Fabulist Friday, and why I don’t call it Magical Realism

Fabulist Friday

Here’s a conversation I find myself having a lot lately: what is Magical Realism, and why can’t you always call it that?

In order to answer that question, you have to look at the history of the genre.

I, myself, am a quarter Spanish. I grew up with Mexican cousins. We share the same Granny. I also have Jewish cousins. I’m hella a descendant of German Mennonites.

Yes, my family is nonsense, but I’m still basically a #WhiteLady, and therefore do not write Magical Realism. I know what you’re thinking: “But I wanna write Magical Realism!” I get it. It’s a beautiful genre that uses beautiful images to make devastating points. Here’s the thing: what you think is Magical Realism isn’t Magical Realism!

Let’s begin with Wikipedia’s definition:

Magical realismmagic realism, or marvelous realism is a genre of narrative fiction and, more broadly, art (literature, painting, film, theatre, etc.) that, while encompassing a range of subtly different concepts, expresses a primarily realistic view of the real world while also adding or revealing magical elements. It is sometimes called fabulism, in reference to the conventions of fablesmyths, and allegory. “Magical realism”, perhaps the most common term, often refers to fiction and literature in particular,[1]:1–5 with magic or the supernatural presented in an otherwise real-world or mundane setting.

Magical Realism is prominently Latin-American, and became a movement in response to colonists. It’s about explaining away war crimes, babies disappearing from their beds, the dead speaking to their ancestors, etc. It can also exist in other colonized cultures: in some Latin countries, kids were abducted and sent to special schools to make them more “white”, and the same happened to the First Nations people in Canada/the US.

The reason it is so specific to colonialism is because it was used to give context to the Latin world being destroyed in a way too horrific to be real, so it’s laced with magic. It is a genre for those who need it to make a point, not for those who want to mess with your mind.

Here’s the Noble Prize Lecture by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the granddaddy of MR, giving a little more context to the genre in Latin America.

Autor Gabriel Garcia MarquezLook at that genius cutie

There’s also Fabulism. Fabulism is a more accurate term for the aesthetic of Magical Realism without being appropriative. Again, I know what you’re thinking: “So I can just change the name of the genre and all is well?” Not really. Fabulism allows the magic to happen on a more personal level than a politicized one, so you wouldn’t have the same images that you’ll often find in MR. Here are some examples:

In “Midnight in Paris” (yes, the movie), the main character is mystically transported through time to meet his literary heroes.

In “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the main character builds a utopian city for his family after leaving war-torn Colombia.

Do you see the difference? In one, magic comes on a personal level. In the other, magic is used to rescue someone from society.

Not to mention, MR is magic being treated as ordinary, reality, while Fabulism is magic being treated as just that: fabulous!

So next time you’re ready to label your work Magical Realism, consider the history that you’re writing into. Consider what people went through in order to have their messages heard. Considering not only the appropriation, but the actual appropriateness of the genre you’re using.

Here’s a few shining stars of the genre to keep you going ’til then:

Image result for nights at the circus by angela carter Image result for Beloved by Toni Morrison Image result for Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel Image result for the way to rainy mountain

Bookish Content, Writing

HOW TO Make Scrivener WAY More Colourful!

Hello fellow Scribes! In honour of my endless stack of #WIPs, today we are going to learn how to take Scrivener (everyone’s favourite writing program) from this:

2018-08-15 (1)

To THIS:

2018-08-15 (9)

You may ask, “Why would I do this?” Perhaps you, like me, require a little extra inspiration when it comes to knocking out a manuscript. OR perhaps you, like me, LOVE TO PROCRASTINATE.

It can be both.

Let’s begin with the icons. I know you’re sick of these boring page icons. You know, these ones:

a Ugh. I know. Boring, right?

Now go ahead and right-click one of those suckers, and then click Change Icon.

b

WOW! Take a look at all those options!

You can even select a bunch of icons and change them all at once, like I did below:c

So you’ve got a bunch of pretty binder icons, now to really pack a punch with the colourizing. Hop to the top of the page and click Tools, then select Options. I very helpfully drew an arrow so you can’t miss it!

d

You should end up on a page that looks like this:

f

Now go ahead and mix up a few of those colour blocks. You’ll have to expand the different folders, and then poke that little rectangle on the right hand side to select your new colour schemes! I’m choosing ALL OF THE PINK.

h

You’ll have to change everything individually, but trust me, it’s worth it!

2018-08-15 (9)

And THERE YOU GO! A fancy new colour palette for your fancy new novel.

Just try and get a little writing done while you mess around, okay?

 

Love,

Michelle