Categories
Site Updates

BIG news

I took a good, long look at what was currently on my plate and what I want to accomplish in the next few years personally and professionally.

In the long-term, maintaining two separate sites for what is essentially the same thing isn’t doing me any good.

Beginning today, I’m going to be folding Writeropolis Industries into my portfolio.

I won’t be eliminating the name or anything. It will continue to exist as the umbrella under which all of my projects fall under.

So, if there is any dead links, or missing content, that’s why!

Thank you for your patience!

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Categories
Prompts

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Island Flavor

Write a story about this lonely bar in Hawai’i.

Talk about the weather.

The people.

The landscape.

Whatever comes to mind!

If you’re feeling frisky, post the story on your blog and share the link below.

I’d love to see it!

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Categories
Craft Talk

Cinematic Absurdism: My Preferred Literary Genre

As you know – and even if you don’t – movies have had a heavy influence on my writing career thus far.

One genre that I have picked liberally from is film noir, mostly Sunset Boulevard which heavily influences one of the stories in my short fiction thesis.

I called it When You Were Young. I would love to get it published someday so that I could eventually share it with you.

But seeing The Maltese Falcon – the apex of the genre, so much so that no one has dared remake it since – was like being born again.

I’d love to delve deeper into adding its spirit to my work.

If that sounds weird, I don’t even care.

There are some movies that simply touch you so deeply as a creative person and a human being, it’s like, “why did I wait so long to consume you?”

One genre that I’d love to steal from (because that’s all art is, stealing from everyone before you) is German Expressionism.

Metropolis is arguably the first science fiction picture ever made. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari is another brilliant film from that genre. Ideas, ideas.

I’m not afraid to say that movies have had a bigger impact on me than books. Books absolutely opened the door and reassured me that I can tell a great story.

Movies encouraged me to tell a great story in a small amount of space which is how I approach short fiction. There’s something magical about shaping a story to be as cinematic as possible.

To me, these formats are all telling stories. And I’m in the business of telling damn good stories.

Creating a story is much easier than trying to get a film made. You can write it, revise it, and throw it out into the world without involving this, that and the other person.

Maybe you’re submitting to a contest, maybe you’re posting it on your blog.

But when you’re trying to get a film off the ground, you can’t seem to get your schedules on track and now you’re three months behind in pre-production.

What an emotional wasteland it is, trying to make a movie.

Not so with writing.

You are in complete control of the story without having people be dependent on you – or you on them – to get your story into someone’s eyeballs.

If it does well or if it fails, it’s all on you as the author.

Say you take three months to even get words on the page.

There is someone at fault, and you can’t blame an outside voice.

It’s you.

It’s a very independent way of looking at the creative process overall.

Well, that’s the sidewalk theory behind the genre I represent if people ask me what my genre is: cinematic absurdism.

I coined the term to explain the stuff that I write because no one has ever named it before.

The grandfather of cinematic absurdism is Ray Bradbury.

I’m the most cinematic writer around — all of my short stories can be shot right off the page.

Ray Bradbury

Back in my graduate writing program, I didn’t realize it but I leaned heavily on dialogue to creatively move my stories forward.

My characters didn’t tell you in their head that they were doing something; they actually said it out loud.

No narrator told you they were doing this or that action.

You followed along through the words they spoke.

The conversations that they had, the clues that the story was going a certain way was told all through dialogue.

Truthfully, when I first started in my program, I was unrefined in terms of my craft. I knew I wanted to write; I knew that I could.

But I didn’t have a voice, a way to tell my stories in my own way.

I was intimidated by most of my fellow students because I could tell right away that they already found their voice.

They didn’t spend their first semester floundering, trying to wade through the water.

But the night that I was told in a workshop that my work depended on dialogue, something in me blossomed.

And it was the seedlings for cinematic absurdism.

Like Bradbury, I’m a firm believer that you could take any of the work I’ve produced thus far, storyboard it tonight, and film it tomorrow.

My dream is to get my stories published and the film rights sold so that I can see them on TV or in a theater or streaming on Netflix someday.

Someday!

The overall nature of the stories is that they could only take place onscreen, yet they exist for you at this moment to consume them through a piece of fiction.

More feedback that I’ve gotten is that they feel real but there’s something unnerving about them that forces you to question yourself at the end by saying, that’s so absurd, that would never happen in real life.

That’s the beauty of cinematic absurdism.

It doesn’t follow the strict definitions of either of its host words. It’s not inherently cinematic because it exists on the page.

Cinema implies that you’re supposed to be watching it on a screen, not reading it.

Wikipedia says that absurdist fiction:

focuses on the experiences of characters in situations where they cannot find any inherent purpose in life, most often represented by ultimately meaningless actions and events that call into question the certainty of existential concepts such as truth or value.

Absurdist fiction

In general, I would say that none of my work hews strictly to that.

There is an exploration of the human condition through unreal situations, but there is always a purpose for these events that we find our characters in.

We dip into their lives at a certain point and we hit the ground running straight into the wall at one hundred miles per hour.

There is always an ending. Maybe not happy, maybe not rock solid. But there’s an ending.

Someday, I hope to be known as the Mother of Cinematic Absurdism. So, today, I claim that title as my own.

Someday, I hope to share this style with other authors who may feel their work would fall under the auspices of this genre, to give them a home for their own creativity.

Can you consume creative writing in 10 minutes or less?

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Categories
Publishing

On Privileged White Male Authors Masquerading as Females for Money

Book Riot’s podcast episode #219 put me on to the fact that Riley Sager is a pen name for a fella named Todd Ritter. Jezebel broke the story.

Every write-up that followed – including Book Riot – made the clipped observation that it’s uncool for men to flip the script and create ambiguous-sounding pen names to sell female-led books to women.

I agree. Full stop. It’s not even up for discussion.

Isn’t it hard enough for a woman (or a woman of color with a decidedly ethnic name, like me) to get someone to pick up their book, much less read it, based on her name? Because it is. It’s the first rule of marketing: have a catchy name.

People outwardly reject what they fear, what they can’t make heads or tails of.

I’m looking at you, He Who Shall Not Be Named.

One of my biggest fears is actually getting published at the Big Five under my own name (and goddammit, I will).

I’m deathly afraid of the rejection because people can’t ask to pronounce my name before plodding on and butchering it.

But now I gotta compete with John Smith because his pen name is Florence Jones? It narrows the playing field.

I already have the entire publishing world against me, because I’m a woman of color who refuses to use a pen name.

I don’t want to be “acceptable” or “palatable” for readers.

I believe that changing a name in this way is a form of control.

You are allowing other people to control the conversation.

I’m a writer; I want ALL the control.

Having to fight for space on the shelf is simply part and parcel of being a professional author. I’d rather do it on an even playing field.

Accept the work for what it is, not how I’m marketed because I’m Jane Doe and you can pronounce that name as easy as you can breathe.

It comes down to this: we have to work harder to dispel the assumption that men can’t write about women and vice versa.

Joss Whedon gets asked all the time about “strong” female characters he writes.

They’re not “strong.” They’re fictional characters he’s written that happen to be female. Buffy could’ve been a dude. But he didn’t write her that way.

What people are saying when they ask such a dumb question is that women aren’t strong in real life, so we have to qualify his female characters as strong.

It’s ridiculous.

Jezebel makes the excellent point that these men are co-opting a female identity, by choice or accidentally, but they don’t have to deal with the problems of being a woman.

Do creeps slide into their DMs asking if they want unsolicited dick pics?

Do they get leered at while walking down the aisle at the grocery store?

Does a “nice guy” comment on their bikini pic with an emoji saying nice (.)(.)?

Do they carry the stain of Eve’s sin, suffering through unwanted pregnancies?

Do they get told, “you’re so pretty, why don’t you smile more?”

Do you want to be a woman to make money? Fine.

Let me share the invisible yoke that all women wear whether we know it or not, and tell me how it REALLY feels to be a woman in the twenty-first century.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Categories
Prompts

Why I Write

The featured image is the quote “I write because I don’t know what to think until I read what I say” by author Flanery O’Connor, against a shoreline of rocks.

Sometimes, I think so fast that the words come out garbled if I were to speak them, or my throat does its weird thing and closes up on me and I can’t get the words out at all.

I write because I must.
I write because I have to express myself.
I write because it physically pains me to keep it locked up inside.

Sometimes, I can get into such a groove that time falls away.

There’s nobody but me and the paper in front of me, the ink on that blank page, or the text in a doc file.

I’ve got music pounding in my ears, but all it does is keep my emotions in check.

I tend to get highly charged when I write.

It’s such a great feeling. I want to feel that high every day.

What are you passionate about? Why do you write? Let me know in the comments!

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It’s time to celebrate and uplift marginalized voices worldwide.

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Categories
Prompts

Which do you enjoy more – the start of a book or the end?

I always like the end of the book.

You’ve fallen in love with the characters a long time ago, you’ve seen what they’ve done and what has been done for them, all you need now is the catharsis, so you can walk away feeling empty or feeling fulfilled.

I’ve read so many books where there’s no payoff and it sort of ends and you’re left with more questions than answers.

Like “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. It took me three years to finish that book because I could not feel anything for Offred.

She downright infuriated me.

But the premise of the book was fascinating, and that’s the only reason why I kept reading.

I had to know the end, even if it was going to piss me off further.

Conversely, the Gemma Doyle trilogy was perfection to me. I had bought “A Great and Terrible Beauty” ages ago but never got around to reading it.

During a particularly bad period of writer’s block, I decided to get out of my funk and read it. I was hooked immediately and bought “Rebel Angels” and “The Sweet Far Thing” before I was even done with half of “Beauty.”

That’s how well I believe that they were written.

I was emotionally – and monetarily – invested.

I HAD to know what happened.

Historical fiction has always appealed to me, particularly the era in which Gemma’s story takes place.

I believe there was so much potential in 19th-century life. The divide between classes, the stereotyped image we have of the Wild West that I’ve always had an affinity for, and all that fun stuff we like to idealize.

If I had had enough sense to take that final semester of French sooner, I probably would’ve transferred to a school that specialized in 19th-century French literature.

But speaking from a history minor’s point of view, I cannot fantasize that life would be easier because it wouldn’t have been.

The technological and medical advances in the 20th and 21st centuries are good enough to keep me grounded in this time.

But it’s fun to play around with those idealizations.

Can you consume creative writing in 10 minutes or less?

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It’s time to celebrate and uplift marginalized voices worldwide.

Join me – Guilliean Pacheco – on my journey to showcase emerging BIPOC writers and the people behind the scenes that let us do what we do too.

It’s time to step into the spotlight.

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