Wednesday, January 10, 2018

On Writing

On Writing, or: 'On Hating Yourself'

Every chapter I've published, hundreds of them, I've hated, except one or two. And every chapter I've published, a reader has said: "this touched my heart" or had a similar reaction.

Every chapter I've hated.
Every chapter has touched somebody, somehow.

Keep writing. Be critical. Do your best... then, publish it and let your readers benefit from words that will touch them.

On Dialogue

One day, magically, your characters will stop speaking in your voice and start speaking in their own voices. And then you'll backslide, and hate yourself. Really, that's how awful it is. But just keep writing through the black times, publish, and turn the page and start the next chapter. It comes and it goes, then you get really, really good. That's the next level.

You always can do better. And that's hard to bear sometimes. But it also means that you can and will get better if you keep writing.

On Publishing, or: "On Giving Your Story Away"

Persevere, but let your readers own your work, too. Then they'll tell you how good you are, and give you hope, instead of you telling yourself that your writing is shite. It is, because it never says what you thought it could've if only you were better, but it does say something that nobody else ever read.

On Reviews

Keep writing, persevere, PUBLISH, and get good, eh, and bad feedback, then ignore all three, and press on.

Good feedback is bad because you will never be that good so it inflates your ego AND makes you scared to be creative and explore. Bad feedback is terrible, because if you take it to heart, it can kill you AND THEN you won't write anymore. eh feedback is the worst, because it makes you think readers are stupid, because they are. They don't see your characters like you do. How can they?

But there are those readers who see something in your works you don't, and see something in you that you don't, and give you a reason and a purpose to write, to write more, and to write better. But you only get those after years of PUBLISHING your chapters.

On Reading Reviews and 'Not Being Affected'

What you fret about will never go away. I've published books, short stories, poems, and every single review slays me, and every story that doesn't get reviews saddens me. What can I do? Keep writing. People's lives actually depend on something to hope for: it's a barren, desolate, hopeless world out there, and my stories say: 'I am here. I am hurting, just like you. You aren't alone.' A reader thinks and feels, so does a writer. If reviews don't affect you, then I don't think you're either, anymore. That you hurt, laugh, cry, scream, means you are alive. That you write these things down give other people hope.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Rosalie before My Sister Rosalie

How was Rosalie viewed before I wrote My Sister Rosalie, in the main?

Rosalie was a cold, cruel, royal B-with-a-capital-B itch, and everybody seemed just fine with that representation, gleeful, in fact, with the reviews I saw in stories portraying this one-dimentional hateful person.

And I was like ... Rosalie's smart. Rosalie's hurting: having had everything taken away from her. Rosalie has lived longer than most vampires on the planet: she's resilient. So, all this counts for nothing?

And the killer: Rosalie was right. Every time. She warned everyone Bella was trouble (in canon), who listened? She's seen train-wrecks before, and she was trying to help, but what did she get for that? Everyone patronized her and ignored her.

And that was okay? And she wouldn't be bitter about her mistreatment now and her ill-treatment before?

The character I don't get is Edward. He had a silver spoon, pampered his whole life, and Carlisle acted on the last wish of Edward's mother, and Carlisle was a loving and devoted father and Edward was ... 'grateful'?

And he treated Bella like a doormat, but that's okay, because he's bad-boy, pretty-boy Edward?

I don't get it.

Why wasn't Twilight simply called: "Rosalie."

There's a challenge! There's a complex character who is smart and a survivor.

Who also has a big, big heart that nobody respects until she found her Emmett, who loves her and is devoted to her, but who understands her? who is her intellectual equal?

I wish people would see Rosalie, simply as who she is.

So I wrote My Sister Rosalie.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Being True to Characters and Setting

Do you "use" settings like you use characters in your stories?
Or do you respect settings like you respect your characters?

Too many writers 'use' characters: "Oh, this character has to die because ..." because the plot demands it, or poor planning leads to a difficult situation, so instead of allowing the characters to deal with difficult truths, the writer writes the character out of the story ("I must move on." "I fell in love with this other person" or usually: PLOT-TWIST! LOOK THAT CHARACTER IS DEAD BECAUSE REASONS!)

Story, too often, is bad story, because I can read who lives and dies, who falls in love with whom, who gets their happy and totally undeserved ending because the author is pushing characters around like chess pieces.

I'd prefer a Helen DeWitt, where: I don't know what's happening, even as a good reader and writer, but I know I love these characters so much, my heart is breaking, and what's happening is a mom is trying to raise her son but he wants to know who his father is? And that's the whole story? The Last Samurai (novel) Yes, it is, and it is a beautiful thing.

So that's characters.

For setting. Too often I read works where the author (mis)treats setting as something characters step through, all bland, featureless and inconsistent ('not-held-together') ... exactly like horse manure, all the same, all pointless, and all of it stinks really quickly.

I argue that if more writers treated their settings like they SHOULD treat their characters, then we would actually learn something, and actually love, Wyoming, for example, or LV-426 on ζ Reticuli or Hydrobad, India (not just 'India') or, for example, Alaska is WARM! and WET! and GREEN! and BEAUTIFUL in the way a mountain LOOMS into your soul. Where is writing that respects a setting that you love it like you love the characters? (or should)

Then, of course, you get the writers who write and write and write the setting and it's just plain, bland, descriptive text that accomplishes nothing except me returning the book to the library after struggling through a few pages of onerous prose. A writer has to set the pages on fire, so that the reader burns with every sentence, and a writer has to know when to burn hard, and when to ease off.

Otherwise writing is just super-simple, as Hemmingway says: "I go to the typewriter and bleed all over it."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"Why did you write My Sister Rosalie?"

Bella, and Rosalie, are trying the best they can to be true to themselves, even though, obviously in Rosalie's case, she has no idea she's being true to what's hurting her and Bella. And also Bella has no idea she is better than she thinks she is. But that's the beauty of this story.

This is a story about hope, even when you don't see it anymore. 


I ... my daughter died. Rose Marie. And it hit the family so hard, even today, more than ten years later. Little Isabel said: "I miss Rose Marie." That hurt. A lot. And I wonder. Can she hope now? Who would she have been as a person? I wonder that. Would she have been happy, or sad, or selfish, or generous? I wonder if she's happy now, and I don't know that, and I'll never know that.

And so I wrote MSR. I don't know about Rose Marie, but maybe Rosalie can find hope, and maybe she can be happy, and maybe that can help, her, a little.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Beta Bio

Author has written 14 stories for Twilight, Halo, As I Lay Dying, and Alex + Ada.
Husband. Father of two daughters

Gamester. Go-player. Algorist


I write.
I do not write things that make me sad.
No. I am sad, and from that sadness, I write. I write to cope, and I write to hope.

Neither of which I do very well at all.

Yes. I have no reason to be sad, and no excuses, either. But I am. This is how I am. This is what I am. This is what I write.
I am an unreasonable man, and the world ... well, the world doesn't like unreasonable men, and it doesn't change just because a wish is begging it to.

So I write.


"An able reader often discovers in other people's writings perfections beyond those that the author put in or perceived, and lends them richer meanings and aspects." — Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592)

(by way of Pandora.Writing)


A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. — Thomas Mann

(by way of @HarryShannon via @itscomplicated)

The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it — Samuel Johnson


I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are. – NORA EPHRON

My stories

  • My Sister Rosalie, Book II: Lover 
  • Chapter summary: 'Du' in German means 'you.' It just means 'you' ... unless you say it like somebody from the Old Country, when they are saying it to somebody they love, then it gets really embarrassing for everybody else, and you have to look away. But Rosalie didn't say it that way, did she. Twilight - Rated: M - English - Romance/Family - Chapters: 9 - Words: 31,838 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 24 - Follows: 32 - Updated: Mar 5 - Published: Dec 26, 2015 - [Bella, Rosalie]
  • My Sister Rosalie, Book I: Captor 
  • Chapter 92: You know what's hard? Being with Rosalie. Fighting with her, all the time. You know what's worse? Being without Rosalie. That's really hard. I just didn't know hard it was... until now. And now I know, don't I. So, what am I going to do about this? More importantly, what are WE going to do about this? The end. Twilight - Rated: M - English - Drama/Family - Chapters: 92 - Words: 422,385 - Reviews: 747 - Favs: 217 - Follows: 212 - Updated: Oct 21, 2015 - Published: Dec 27, 2008 - [Bella, Rosalie] - Complete
  • Sentience
  • Supper. Food. Very simple concepts for humans: they eat, they work, they sleep. But for my new owner, Alex(ander Wahl), nothing is simple. So how do I serve and service him? That's my meaning. I'm Ada, a Tanaka X5 android, his birthday present. Author's note: No android models were harmed during the writing of this fluffy fanfic. Alex + Ada - Rated: T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 1 - Words: 19,086 - Reviews: 1 - Published: May 17, 2014 - [Alex, Ada]
  • An Interview with Dr Catherine Halsey 
  • Lamentation: What greater love that this? That we lay down our lives for our friends? Or, ... that we go on, when they die. What am I going to do, when she's gone? I'm not up for this. Motherhood. It's what I always craved, wasn't it? So why am I terrified at the prospect of its eventuality? Crossover - Halo & Twilight - Rated: M - English - Mystery/Sci-Fi - Chapters: 4 - Words: 22,936 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 1 - Updated: Jul 19, 2013 - Published: Jul 4, 2013 - Complete
  • Hanuman Chalisa
  • Maya. Rosalie told me that it's Illusion. Dream. Sadness. But sometimes a dream can be, yes, sad, but I wouldn't trade this dream, this sadness, for anything in the world. For she was in it. No, she was it: my dream, my all. And that was enough. One shot. Twilight - Rated: T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Spiritual - Chapters: 1 - Words: 2,866 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 2 - Published: Mar 26, 2013 - Bella, Rosalie - Complete
  • Pro Patria Mori
  • A young man goes off to war for King and Country As I Lay Dying - Rated: T - English - Drama/Tragedy - Chapters: 1 - Words: 4,560 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Published: Feb 15, 2013 - Complete
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Tra-la-la, fa-la-la, here I am, little red riding hood, skipping through the snowy forest to the little cabin in the woods to deliver a basket of brownies to Grandma. Except Grandma died almost a year ago. I wonder who lives there now? Dark. Twilight - Rated: M - English - Drama/Horror - Chapters: 1 - Words: 8,543 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 7 - Published: Jan 20, 2013 - Victoria, Rosalie
  • Soiled Doves
  • When Rosalie takes interest in you to be her 'baby's plaything ...? Run. Run for your life. Dark. Chapter summary: 爸爸, 妈妈 this is America now! The 八仙 stayed back in 中国. Besides, what would the Immortal Lady Lotus Eater 何仙姑 want from a soiled dove like me? Twilight - Rated: M - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 1 - Words: 4,867 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: Jan 13, 2013 - Rosalie, Victoria
  • Remember Harvest
  • We remember Thermopylae; we remember the Alamo, and now: we remember Reach. But before Reach was Arcadia, and before Arcadia was Harvest, and that's where I first encountered the Covenant and ... 'my' Spartan. Halo - Rated: M - English - Sci-Fi/Drama - Chapters: 1 - Words: 4,313 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 3 - Published: Dec 7, 2010 - E. Anders, C. Halsey
  • Her Transformation 
  • Chapter 2 — Night: Something is very wrong. My transformation hadn't gone this badly. Is she fighting it so hard that she's killing herself before the venom changes her? Twilight - Rated: M - English - Tragedy/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 2 - Words: 7,345 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 9 - Updated: Mar 14, 2010 - Published: Mar 13, 2010 - Esme, Rosalie
  • Reminiscence
  • Reminiscence: n. a story told about a past event remembered by the narrator. Follows “My Sister Rosalie,” ch 22 “Compulsion.” Twilight - Rated: T - English - Tragedy/Horror - Chapters: 1 - Words: 1,394 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 3 - Published: Jan 15, 2010 - Rosalie, Bella - Complete
  • Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird 
  • Verse VI: I'm an easy going, adventurous bloke in the midst of a den of gorgeous, Slovakian female predators. Succubae. A bloody dream come true, right? Yeah…well…not so much. Twilight - Rated: T - English - Family/Drama - Chapters: 7 - Words: 18,882 - Reviews: 33 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 6 - Updated: Dec 18, 2009 - Published: Jun 5, 2009 - Garrett, Kate
  • Rose by a Lemon Tree 
  • I have a task to do. It is as simple as that. Bella Swan must die, and I will be the one to kill her. — Rosalie Lillian Hale. Companion piece to "My Sister Rosalie" Twilight - Rated: M - English - Tragedy/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 18 - Words: 65,310 - Reviews: 101 - Favs: 51 - Follows: 17 - Updated: Jul 25, 2009 - Published: Feb 3, 2009 - Rosalie, Bella - Complete
  • Bella's One Fear
  • It's not blood-thirsty vampires, nor rampaging werewolves, nor school gossip, nor even needles. But there is one thing that utterly terrifies Bella Swan, and she doesn't know how to handle this fear. Epigrammatic/Eclipse. Bella and Angela.

Beta Bio: general description as a beta reader
I am a hard man to work with. Demanding. Sullen. Persnickety. Perfectionist. Protectionist. Luddite. Grammar Nazi. Sort of like a male version of Rosalie Lillian Hale. Yes, I may feel complimented when you start calling me a 'biotch.'

I more than occasionally overstep bounds and put my foot in my mouth, but I am very grateful to receive a "STFU, geophf" or a "this is my tolerance line." When I do receive your warning, I back off very quickly. When I'm wrong, I apologize. I can work with people who can work with me and, much more importantly, work on improving themselves.

I want you to fight me. I want you to win. I severely doubt that you can, but I want you to try. And when you do win, and when I do lose, you've made my day. I'm the happiest man in the world when I lose a fight. Why? Because that means that there's something in your story worth fighting for, and that you've managed to convince me of its intrinsic worth.

Oh, and if you can't bother to use spell check, don't bother to talk to me, either, because I'm far more interested in story arc than I am at correcting word choice, spelling and usage. I am a person, not a human resource: use me, but don't you dare abuse me.

My Strengths: beta, writing, or reading strengths
Grammar. Full stop. Do you know the difference between the objective and nominative cases? You d-mn well better. Do you know when to use the subjunctive case? You will when I'm finished with your first chapter.

Punctuation. Full stop. You are missing commas. You are seriously missing commas, aren't you? After a couple of chapters, you'll get the hint ... or you can get lost.

My Weaknesses: beta, writing, or reading weaknesses
Impatience. Intolerance. Indiscretion.
If your story sucks, I will really, really try to break it to you gently.

I'm not very good at that.

If you want honesty, I'll give it to you in spades.

If you want someone to cry into your hefe weizen with, well, then, I'm good for that, too, but you had have better have shown me that you've earned the right to sit next to me and cry in yours as I cry in mine.

Preferred: types of stories I prefer over others
Preferences? You bet.

You had better have a story, not a "Oh, this is Bella IMing Edward drabble."

If it's cutesy, it had better have a really good raison d'être for being cutesy.

Is life random? Maybe. Are random fan-fiction pieces good? ... maybe not. Show me you and your story have a clue.

Show me your story is populated with people who think and feel and talk and breathe and need to go to the bathroom and bleed and cry and live and die.

Show me your story is set somewhere. In a house? What kind of house? In a town? Which town? When? What is the population? Ethnicities? Are they Indians? Which tribes? I'm Choctaw. Did you research the town? The state or province or country? Alaska IS NOT covered in snow (maybe Attu, Alaska, with it's national forest of 14 pine shrubs has a BIT more snow). I have lived there. Seattle is sunny ... often!

What is the reason for your story? Why are you telling it? What happens in the story, and why? And how does that happening develop the character or advance the plot? You have heard of plot, right? Show me your plot diagram. What is the climax? What is the dénouement? What are the visceral mise-en-scene in this chapter? Why?

Would Rather Not: I do not beta for these stories
Do you know what I hate?
Glad you asked.

I hate deus ex machinia. I see that, and you are in major trouble, particularly, multiple POVs in one chapter. I see that, and I say bye-bye. Sure this is fan-fiction, but just because (nearly) everybody else writes crap does not give you a license to present yours for my review.

You trade in archetype, and I'll show you the exit. You give me a hyperactive shopaholic named Alice who tells the story's conclusion whenever she is magically needed, then I'm giving your chapter a thumbs down.

Oh, Edward reads everybody's mind? Deus ex machina if not handled properly. Most fan-fiction DOESN'T handle it properly. Yours had better.

Jasper diffuses a tense situation? Then why have that standoff in the first place if Jasper was going to render it moot?

Sure, you are handling very, very powerful characters, so you had better handle them with respect.

You disrespect your characters, you disrespect your story. You disrespect your story, then I'll have to ask you to go elsewhere.

Beta Preferences
Language: English
Content Rating: Fiction K » M
Categories: categories in black are ones this beta has authored for
Book  Twilight
Genres: General, Romance, Humor, Drama, Angst, Tragedy, Western, Crime, Family

Sunday, March 6, 2016

FORE! Golfer-geophf on Motivation for Writing

4. What was your motivation to write your book?

My ... 'motivation'? Well, my motivation was to put the Galaxy under my Imperial Rule, and to that end I build a battle station that could obliterate an entire planet with one massively-powered laser beam, but ...

Well, these things never work out in practice, and some rebellious, misguided upstarts exploited the (inevitable) weakness using some stolen plans, so, plan B: writing.

geophf: not just another pretty-'Everybody wants to rule the world'-boy,
but the fo'-realz deal, yo!

K. That's one way of looking at my motivation. Another way ... 

You're a writer, so you know: it's impossible not to write.

But then I started getting reviews. I planned to write MSR, and that was it, no problem. Chapter 24 was written for a girl whose daughter's second birthday was the next day, and could I please write something thematically as a gift? Then I got reviews, three marriage proposals. These girls were so disappointed that I turned out to be a man. So weird: a guy writing about two girls talking and fighting and talking and fighting and then talking some more. Whoda thunk?

And then I got a review, then another, then another, that said MSR saved their lives.

And I got review after review after review saying they screamed when they saw I published a chapter, or: how could I so completely describe the depth of their despair, and that they weren't alone anymore, or: was this what love was? Yes, in all its struggle and dirtiness and sadness and relief and joy, or: how could Bella and Rosalie be so stupid? Can't they see love, right in front of them, or: "I could fall in love with your Rosalie, ... in fact, I kinda did."

What is my motivation for writing?

My writing touches people's hearts. What else do I need?

"The only end of writing is to enable the readers to better enjoy life, or better to endure it"
– Samuel Johnson

Friday, March 4, 2016

Questions II + III: Book/s, when and how long

2. When did you write your first book?

MSR I started 2008 after I wrote the short story: "Bella's One Fear" Bella's One Fear surprised me because I thought I never would be a writer, always a reader (insert bride's maid joke here).

It started then. I wrote chapter after chapter, up to chapter 55 or so, and then I left it for three years, you know, because it was too much for me to bear, writing this sad, sweet story.

I haunted me every day. So I went back to writing. Writing hurts less than not writing.

So, yeah. I finished this (first) journey Oct 2015. YAY! Confetti!

3. How long did it take to write your first book?

Two days, right? ;)

Meditation for these questions 2 + 3 ... hm. Fives are everywhere.