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Reading Update: May 18th, 2020

Writing Status: …

Just finished another fantasy short story. I was a smidge worried about the reception since I’d written the better half of it during final exams…and, well, that’s not a good idea at the best of times.

I massacred an entire city of people in a NaNoWriMo project for the sake of backstory and didn’t even realize until I was reworking the story a couple of months ago. Then there was the inevitable

“Wait, I did what now?”

This short story had nightmares coming to life and a super spiteful/violent main character…I was aware of these features while writing it, so I gave my alpha readers a big warning: yes, I’m fine, no, I don’t need therapy, please prepare yourselves because this might get weird and I’m not sure what else slipped in at 2 a.m. when I wasn’t looking.

To be fair, I love the main character in all her deadly glory and think the monster sequences were fairly mild…but my opinion doesn’t matter. I wrote the thing.

The result?

Alpha Reader no. 1: Ships two main characters that were not meant to be shipped, is my most finicky reader and had no problem with the violence, thinks this is one of my best stories…

*screams in agony at having characters “shipped” when there is no romantic attraction again.*

Frankly, most of my stories have a romantic thread to them. A very slim romantic thread. Understated. Subtle. This one did not. I waited to see what my other readers would say before considering a massive rewrite.

Alpha Reader no. 2: ships none of the characters, generally likes monster stories, entertained by my careful dodging of tropes.

It’s actually a lot easier to dodge tropes than you think if you don’t know them. Or at least that seems to be the case with me. No. 2 is far more widely read in horror than I ever will be.


Alpha Reader no. 3: ships none of the characters, is reminded of acquaintances and happenstance from his youth, grumbles about having to go back to work after reading on lunch break. May have been holding dangerous thoughts toward me for creating inopportune suspense.

I love it when they say that. There are few things better than having all three readers arguing at full volume over the story while I can sit back and let the speculation grow rampant.

No. 3 described the possible romantic inclination as just a teenage boy having a crush–casually brushing it off and letting me breathe again. Boys fall in love at the drop of a hat at that age, he said, and of course why wouldn’t he when the girl was as awesome a monster-killer as that?

So I may change nothing, and just send the story to Writers of the Future as-is at the end of next month. Or maybe I’ll have a lightning strike of brilliance and write something entirely new.

Finishing a story though, usually means I have a little bit of an emotional slump. Modern life is so boring when there aren’t dragons and little needle-toothed monsters waiting to tackle you around every corner.

I had a nasty case of writer’s block. I was typing, but everything felt like gaggingly mawkish fluff.

Solution? Read a book. Not any book. A good book. Which leads us to:

Reading Update: Rooftoppers, by Katherine Rundell!

Yes. Very much yes. If you love heights and music and middle-grade fiction, this is a book for you.

I swallowed it whole in less than 24 hours.

I think I’ve been a little book-deprived.

I feel very much better. Like I could write something good again. Thieves and odd Victorian ladies living in the jungle, perhaps. Something whimsical and heart-wrenching.

Won’t say much more since I plan to make a full review…but still, it’s a wonder how I always seem to forget how good a book can make life feel.

Happy reading, all.


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